BLACK COALITION FOR SAFE MOTHERHOOD – BCFSM™
BCFSM™ is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established by a group of committed birth justice activists to promote healthcare advocacy education in the Black community. The idea for BCFSM™ arose out of the partnership between Drs. Leslie Farrington and Laurie Zephyrin, who are Black Obstetricians. Both believe that Black birthing people and their supporters can take ownership of maternal health experiences by vetting prenatal and birthing services, choosing providers who give respectful and person-centered care, amplifying their voices, and partnering with their medical team.
BCFSM™ is proud to promote the ACTT Curriculum, which was created by Black women for Black birthing people. Nurses, obstetricians, midwives, doulas, and community members have collaborated to offer a powerful healthcare advocacy toolkit, which anyone in the community can use to help improve the pregnancy, birth and post birth outcomes of Black families.
BCFSM™ uses birthing people and Moms interchangeably, and it recognizes that people of all genders may have the capacity for pregnancy and birth.
BCFSM seeks to improve Black Maternal Health through promotion of healthcare advocacy and holistic community support of birthing people. BCFSM was established to promote the ACTT Curriculum in Black communities nationwide and beyond.
Jenise Ogle, MPA
Leslie Farrington, M.D.
In 2009 Leslie transitioned to Office Gynecology and Well Woman Care. During this phase of her career, Leslie learned about the need for patient advocacy because of the high rates of harm in the health care system due to medical error. She joined the board of directors of Pulse Center for Patient Safety Education & Advocacy (CPSEA) to educate the public about the patient and family’s role in reducing preventable medical errors, and to raise awareness that the most important part of “caring” for health “care” providers, should be listening to and centering the patient. In 2014 Leslie learned of the stark racial disparities in maternal mortality rates, and that over 60% of those deaths were preventable. As a Black physician and patient safety activist, Leslie recognized that mortality statistics are the tip of the iceberg of preventable harm experienced by the Black community due to racism in medicine and society. Using her experience in the patient safety movement, Leslie began a community-based effort to find techniques and tools which expectant mothers, and their families and supporters, could use to obtain person centered care with dignity. Now in partnership with midwives, doulas, nurses, educators, and community members, Leslie is proud to be a part of the development of the ACTT for Safe Motherhood Curriculum. Leslie Farrington is dedicated to the promotion of health care advocacy and holistic support of birthing families in Black Communities nationwide. She serves as Vice President and Treasurer of BCFSM.
Laurie Zephyrin, M.D., M.P.H., M.B.A.
Dr. Laurie Zephyrin is a practicing Obstetrician/Gynecologist, who joined the Commonwealth Fund in 2019 as Vice President, Health Care Delivery System Reform, where she leads the Vulnerable Populations portfolio. Dr. Zephyrin has extensive experience leading the vision, design, and delivery of innovative health care models across national health systems. From 2009-2018, she was the first National Director of the Reproductive Health Program at the Department of Veterans Affairs spearheading the strategic vision and leading systems change through the implementation of evidence-based policies and programs to improve the health of women veterans nationwide. In 2016-2017, she served as Acting Assistant Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care, and later in 2017, as Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Community Care. While directing the VA’s Community Care program, a key component of VA’s high-performance network with an operating budget of over $13 billion, Dr. Zephyrin spearheaded efforts to implement legislation, develop internal governance structures, and address patient outcomes through system-wide optimization of care delivery. As part of the leadership team, she also represented VA before Congress and other internal and external stakeholders. Dr. Zephyrin is a board-certified clinician. She is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone School of Medicine (2013-present) and was previously an Assistant Professor at Columbia University, College of Physicians and Surgeons (2007-2012). She earned her M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine, M.B.A. and M.P.H. from Johns Hopkins University, and B.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the City College of New York. She completed her residency training at Harvard’s Integrated Residency Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital.
Nubia Earth Martin, MS in Midwifery
Client Centered, Wombman Led Care, and a deep respect for physiologic birth are the cornerstones of Nubia’s philosophy of Midwifery. Her great-great-grandmother, Cynthia Wesley, caught 11 of her 13 grandchildren in South Carolina. The blood of the Grand Midwives and their traditions and rituals run deep through Nubia Martin. She considers herself a vessel to serve women and families, and she views the laying on of her hands for healing to be an honor and privilege.
Since 2008 Nubia has been providing childbirth education, doula support, and lactation assistance in and around Yonkers, NY, in order to provide the services and resources that were lacking in the community when she was pregnant with her children. In 2019 Nubia founded the nonprofit, Birth from The Earth, and began serving families for their Home Birth needs. She was a co-writer of the ACTT Curriculum and led the first ACTT Workshop in September 2019. Nubia Martin is dedicated to improving birth outcomes, women’s health and wellness, and reducing maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates of women of color and their children.
Kimberly Wade, BS
Kimberly has been both a teacher and parent volunteer in the classroom. She is proud of her volunteer mentorship work that provided teen mothers with someone to share their day to day challenges of going to high school and being a mom. Reflecting on the time spent mentoring teen mothers, Kimberly found that there was a lack of educational tools to support young Black women in the maternal health and birthing process. She recognized the need to provide resources and education before teens may become pregnant.
When Kimberly met Leslie Farrington in 2018, Dr. Farrington shared her plan to spread the message of Black Maternal Healthcare Advocacy and Support nationwide. As she learned about racial disparities in health outcomes, Kimberly began to share Dr. Farrington’s vision and passion. Kimberly believes it is time to put her own personal birth stories, her life experience, and education to use for the cause of birth justice in the Black community. Kimberly is committed to fulfilling the mission of BCFSM and serves as Secretary on the Board.