Originally published: March 15, 2023
New Pittsburgh Courier

The Urban League has been deeply committed to the health and well-being of children and families, and this can be seen in the work we do through the Family Support Centers.  

How do the Family Support Centers and other initiatives in our region help to address greater equity in reproductive health?   

We leverage our centers as a hub to connect our families to resources that address the needs of the whole person.

The Family Support Centers provide to each visitor in need (individuals, parents, or families) a variety of services. These services include transportation to any type of medical care appointment and one-on-one support and guidance to each person seeking reproductive healthcare.

This support extends to assisting in and engaging with healthcare concierge services provided by their healthcare provider, as well as finding providers in, or surrounding, their community.

Our staff is trained to educate our visitors on their healthcare options, such as informing them what is 100% covered and what may require a copayment. Our team guides and supports our visitors to be their own advocate: for their bodies, their health, and, ultimately, their children and families.

If an individual does not have healthcare coverage, we work to connect them with resources.  Additionally, our team educates families about the importance of prenatal appointments and makes sure their children and babies have regularly scheduled checkups.

Throughout their visit, the Family Support Center staff connects each visitor to resources that help them meet their basic needs and opportunities for economic self-sufficiency.

What can we all do to promote reproductive health for Black Women?

I believe the most important thing we can do is to listen to Black women. We must understand their — and their families’ — needs and offer unconditional support.

Too often, medical professionals and the broader community refuse to give our Black women the same attention and concern that others receive. That must change.

We need to ensure that our women feel loved, heard, respected, and supported.  We must guarantee that they are equipped with the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about their bodies and wholistic wellbeing.

Our Black women are the rock of our community and deserve to live long, healthy, and productive lives!  Black women matter and it is time that they get the chance to thrive!

Carlos T. Carter is president and CEO of Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh