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UM Health-West to host ‘Toxic: A Black Woman’s Story’ film screening and community discussion

University of Michigan Health-West’s offices of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and Health Equity are partnering with Celebration Cinema and Consult Me to host a free screening and community discussion of “Toxic: A Black Woman’s Story.” The short film sheds light on factors that impact many black women during pregnancy and aims to raise consciousness about structural racism and the factors that impact infant mortality.

As of 2017 in the United States, one of the wealthiest and most medically advanced countries in the world, black babies were dying at more than two times the rate of white babies before their first birthdays. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women. Healthcare professionals estimate that as many as 60 percent of maternal deaths are preventable.

“This film is a powerful reminder that the health disparities faced by black women in the United States are the result of structural racism and systemic inequities. It is our hope that this screening and community discussion will help to raise awareness and inspire action to address these critical issues in West Michigan,” said Dr. Rhae-Ann Booker, UM Health-West Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

The film follows the life of the protagonist, Nina, a lawyer, wife, and loving mother who is navigating life and pregnancy to the best of her ability. Through her story, the film explores the interconnectedness of racism, toxic stress, and birth outcomes.

The screening and community discussion will take place on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. and 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. at Celebration Cinema South in Grand Rapids. The film will be followed by a facilitated discussion, and each registered attendee will receive one small popcorn and one small soda, courtesy of Celebration Cinema.

Attendees are asked to register on University of Michigan Health-West’s events page.