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BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center’s Anemia Research Partnership with Stanford University Awarded Major NIH Grant

Four women standing in front of a Black Maternal Health Week Banner

Dr. Irogue Igbinosa, Stanford University, Leslie Kowalewski, Executive Director, CMQCC, Stanford University, Shantay R. Davies-Balch, President & CEO, BWPC, and Dr. Subhashini Ladella,Maternal Fetal Medicine Specialist,Director of Perinatology,Community Medical Centers.

FRESNO, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, September 26, 2023 / -- BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center (BWPC) will serve as Community Co-investigator with Stanford University driving research to reduce racial disparities in severe maternal morbidity from hemorrhage through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant.

As a part of the IMPROVE initiative, the NIH selected Stanford University as one of 10 Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence. Through this initiative, the NIH awarded funds spanning 7 years, to Stanford’s center, called PRIHSM (PReventing Inequities in Hemorrhage-related Severe Maternal morbidity). In the role of Community Co-Investigator for Stanford PRIHSM, BWPC has been granted over half a million dollars to co-create an Anemia Prevention Toolkit to reduce the prevalence and the racial and ethnic disparities of iron deficiency anemia—one of the projects in this wide-ranging initiative.

Iron deficiency anemia is a public health concern that has disproportionately high rates among Black and Latinx birthing persons. Severe anemia is associated with higher risk of postpartum hemorrhage, which is among the top five leading causes of pregnancy-related deaths in the state of California and across the nation. Anemia during pregnancy can also increase the risks of preterm birth and low birthweight.

BWPC’s President & CEO, Shantay R. Davies-Balch, MBA and Executive Program Manager, Kata Nemeth, MPA, will support the development and refinement of the Anemia Prevention Toolkit by gathering and translating patient and community perspectives.

"Our partnership with Stanford University is a powerful example of community power-sharing in research. The Anemia Prevention Toolkit will be an additional resource contributing to safer and healthier pregnancies for all," shares Davies-Balch.

BWPC and Stanford previously collaborated on anemia-focused research, laying the groundwork for the upcoming phase. In 2021, BWPC led community engaged research in partnership with Stanford, establishing the Anemia Community Leadership Group (ACLG) and conducting qualitative interviews with Black and Latinx people who experienced anemia during pregnancy, to identify gaps and barriers to care.

“We are delighted to continue our partnership with BWPC to co-lead this initiative. Community and academic partnerships can be powerful in improving pregnancy outcomes among those most at risk. Together we can reduce unacceptably high levels of iron deficiency anemia and its related major complications during pregnancy, and reduce racial and ethnic disparities,” says Deirdre Lyell, MD, Stanford’s faculty lead of the anemia project.

About BWPC: BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center (BWPC) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 2019 by Shantay R. Davies-Balch as a catalyst to improve well-being and prosperity in the Black community. From research and education to advocacy and infrastructure building, BWPC is dedicated to improving Black Maternal and Child Health outcomes, elevating the Black voice, and strengthening Black capacity. For more information about BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center visit:

Allison Birkle
BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center
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