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Community Partners Host Free Event to Raise Awareness About Maternal Health and Racial Disparities

Atrium Health Navicent, Middle Georgia State University and Navicent Health Foundation host maternal health event April 6

Atrium Health Navicent is partnering with Middle Georgia State University and the Navicent Health Foundation to kick off Minority Health Month with a free interactive maternal health event on April 6. The community is invited to learn more about maternal health and racial disparities by attending the event at Middle Georgia State University, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Atrium Health Navicent Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrice Walker, a board trained OB-GYN, and Dr. Tara Underwood,Dean of School of Health and Natural Sciences at Middle Georgia State University, will share information about unconscious bias and its unintended impact on health care, and the history of structural racism in health care. There will also be a screening of the short film, “Toxic: A Black Woman’s Story.”

The event will include a discussion about community solutions, networking, presentations and a question-and-answer session featuring a panel of experts. In addition to Walker and Underwood, panelists include Dr. Melva Jones, a registered nurse and associate professor of Nursing at Middle Georgia State University; Dr. Felicia Love Kitchen, Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency Program director at Atrium Health Navicent; Dr. Jimmie Smith Jr., Macon-Bibb County Health Department administrator; and Katherine Sylvester of Operation M.I.S.T. (Monitor, Intervene, Survive, Thrive).

The event will be held in the Math Auditorium at Middle Georgia State University, 100 University Parkway in Macon, and is open to the public. To RSVP, email Although in-person attendance is limited, individuals can also participate virtually and a live-stream link will be available.

“Georgia has the second-highest maternal mortality rate in the nation, and black women in our state are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications,” Walker said. “Through events like this one, Atrium Health Navicent is raising awareness about disparities in care and is seeking to empower patients, health providers and the community to effect lifesaving changes for women and their babies.”

Atrium Health Navicent has previously partnered with Fort Valley State University and Mercer University to hold similar maternal health events.

About Atrium Health Navicent

Atrium Health Navicent is the leading provider of health care in central and south Georgia and is committed to its mission of elevating health and wellbeing through compassionate care. Atrium Health Navicent is part of Advocate Health, which is headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is the fifth-largest nonprofit health system in the United States, created from the combination of Atrium Health and Advocate Aurora Health. Atrium Health Navicent provides high-quality, personalized care in 53 specialties at more than 50 facilities throughout the region. As part of the largest, integrated, nonprofit health system in the Southeast, it is also able to tap into some of the nation’s leading medical experts and specialists with Atrium Health, allowing it to provide the best care close to home – including advanced innovations in virtual medicine and care. Throughout its 125-year history in the community, Atrium Health Navicent has remained dedicated to enhancing health and wellness for individuals throughout the region through nationally recognized quality care, community health initiatives and collaborative partnerships. It is also one of the leading teaching hospitals in the region, helping to ensure viability for rural health care for the next generation. For more information, please visit