AAMC Maternal Health Equity Series Part Three: Advancing Maternal Health Equity in Refugee Communities - June 24

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Black, American Indian, and Alaska Native (AI/AN) women are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women—and this disparity increases with age. Pregnancy-related deaths for Black and AI/AN women older than 30 are four to five times higher than for white women.  The AAMC Maternal Health Equity Webinar Series highlights the unique role of academic medicine in the fight for maternal health justice and features physicians, community leaders, and researchers who are committed to eliminating these inequities. The third installment of the AAMC Maternal Health Equity Webinar Series focuses on the maternal health disparities faced by refugee women.  

Advancing Maternal Health Equity in Refugee Communities

Dr. Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, founding director of the Refugee Women’s Clinic at Valleywise Health, will provide an overview of  the global refugee crisis with special attention to the vulnerabilities faced by refugee women and the challenges providers face in the delivery of high quality culturally competent care. A specific lens will focus on the cultural practice of Female Genital Cutting as well as the current COVID-19 pandemic crisis.  As a practicing Obstetrician Gynecologist, Dr. Johnson-Agbakwu will share her perspectives regarding innovative models of patient care for refugee women and best practice strategies in the provision of linguistically and culturally-appropriate care that optimizes reproductive health outcomes, and promotes the healing, health and wellness of refugee women. 

Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, MD, MSc, FACOG

Founding Director, Refugee Women’s Health Clinic, Valley Wise Health

Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, MD, MSc, FACOG, is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Valley Wise Health, Phoenix, AZ, where she is the Founding Director of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic. She is also a Research Assistant Professor of the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC), which is a NIH-funded National Center of Excellence in minority health and health disparities at Arizona State University. She received her undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University, medical degree from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the George Washington University Medical Center. She subsequently completed a fellowship in Female Sexual Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and then became a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan where she obtained her Masters in Health and Health Care Research examining disparities in reproductive health care among refugees/immigrants through mixed-method Community-Based Participatory Research. She has presented nationally and internationally on the challenges faced by health care providers in the care of refugee women as well as the opportunities to improve the quality of care for this vulnerable population. Her current research focuses on investigating strategies to improve reproductive health outcomes for newly-arrived refugee women, particularly those who have undergone Female Genital Cutting (FGC) as well as Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV); with the aim of improving health care access and utilization, reproductive health education, counseling, community engagement, as well as health care provider cultural competency.

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