Elected officials, community leaders and medical professionals from across the region gathered last week to celebrate the grand opening of an innovative new clinic that will provide essential prenatal and perinatal health care to underserved Black women and their families.
Made possible by a grant from First 5 San Bernardino and led by longtime Inland Empire physician Dr. Guillermo J. Valenzuela, the patient-centered Neighborly Adaptable Equitable care for Black Obstetric patients with Respect (NAEBOR) Clinic seeks to reverse systemic issues that have left Black and African American families suffering worse health outcomes during pregnancy and infancy than any other group.
Historically, African American and Black women experience higher rates of infant mortality and are three to four times more likely to die in childbirth when compared to women of other races. Reasons for these devastating outcomes often include structural racism and bias in the current health care system, and a lack of access to reproductive health care.
“In San Bernardino County, Black women have among the lowest rates of early prenatal care, when compared to mothers of other races. These statistics are simply unacceptable,” said Dr. Valenzuela. “By increasing access to culturally appropriate prenatal care for pregnant Black women in San Bernardino County, we can improve perinatal outcomes and improve the health of Black women and their families in our communities. Our goal is to make this clinic the model for tackling these issues.”
Studies have shown that women of color also reported feelings of discrimination, neglect, or disrespect within the healthcare system. Such experiences affect their inclination to seek care during pregnancy or after. By incorporating training of health care team members in cultural awareness and implicit bias, the clinic will help improve reproductive health care outcomes.
“In San Bernardino County and my own City of Rialto, we are experiencing a public health crisis when it comes to pregnant Black women and their children,” said Rialto Mayor Deborah Robertson. “By helping to address these issues, the clinic will help change the trajectory of pregnant Black women who have felt discrimination, disrespect and barriers to their care.”
The NAEBOR Medical Group’s innovative new service model is built around comprehensive social services, community health care workers, and community relationships. By offering patient-centered, individualized care to marginalized populations, the clinic will improve pregnancy outcomes and patient experiences.
“Research shows just how important quality reproductive care is before, during and after pregnancy – but it is something that Black women rarely receive at the same levels as women of other races. The NAEBOR Clinic will help address these critical issues,” said Fontana Mayor Acquanetta Warren. “The clinic was created to care for our most vulnerable with respect, dignity and compassion, and to help end these disparities.”
The NAEBOR clinic will operate from the existing Mommy & Me Medical Group Clinic at 416 W Foothill Blvd. in Rialto. For information on the clinic or to schedule an appointment, contact (909) 421-0493 or visit https://www.naeborclinic.com/