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Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM) impacts over 400 birthing people a year in the City of Philadelphia. SMM accounts for a range of pregnancy-related complications that have serious short and long-term consequences on an individual's health. Similar to other health inequities, SMM disproportionately impacts Black women at a rate that is 2x higher than that of White women. To combat the issue of SMM, the Early Warning Signs Education Program was created by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Maternal, Child, and Family Health (MCFH), and the OVA to educate all persons who may interact with birthing people in the postpartum period on the specific indicators of SMM and to empower the attendees to promote health-seeking behavior in a birthing person who might be exhibiting a sign.

The presentation material is inspired by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Hear Her Campaign and the POST-BIRTH Education Campaign offered by the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric, and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN). Our 45-minute  training is currently offered in a virtual format co-facilitated by our talented Speakers Bureau, comprised of individuals with clinical backgrounds or lived experience expertise. Learn more about members of our team below!

Clinical Experience Experts

Mari-Carmen Farmer, MSN, CNM

A first-generation Afro-Latinx midwife and educator, Mari-Carmen has been engaged in social justice work and reproductive health for over 20 years. Prior to midwifery, Mari-Carmen completed a degree in sociology & anthropology and became engaged in activism and community organizing in Philadelphia. She is an Americorps alum, a seasoned doula and childbirth educator, and an experienced facilitator with a strong background in designing and leading trainings, retreats, workshops, and healing circles. She has also used these facilitation skills in the Centering Pregnancy model to care for diverse client populations and to lead workshops focused on equity and antiracism for clinicians around the country. Since graduating from the CNM/WHNP program at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016, Mari-Carmen has been providing full-scope care for families from a wide range of cultures in Philadelphia. She is currently the President of Philly Metro Midwives, the Philadelphia Chapter of the PA Affiliate of the ACNM and the founder/creative leader of Midwife y Maestra, a consulting collaborative focused on building capacity and community among midwives and other healthcare providers, particularly around antiracism, health equity, and addressing trauma we experience in our work. Mari-Carmen is committed to centering the narratives of the people she serves, as she believes that stories create connections between individuals and communities that can catalyze powerful social change.  

Sharon Starr, MSN, RN

Education Temple University, Philadelphia, PA with Bachelor’s Degree, Nursing LaSalle University, Philadelphia, PA with Master’s Degree, Public Health Nursing and Certificate in Nursing Education Professional Experience Current: Philadelphia Department of Public Health, Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health as a Public Health Nurse in Birth Defects and Home Visiting Programs providing case management, surveillance, community and professional education, and quality assurance services with multiple populations. COVID-19 activities: Medical Reserve Corps providing COVID-19 clinical support, testing and vaccinations of vulnerable populations. Past: • La Salle University, La Salle Neighborhood Nursing Center: Public Health Nurse working with families who have children with special needs, working with child care professionals for health and safety education, and adjunct public health nursing faculty. • Youth Service, Inc.: Community Health Nurse working with young families • Albert Einstein Medical Center: Staff nursing in medical-surgical and critical care units Personal Experience: shaped by family as a spouse for more than 40 years and as a parent of three children, their spouses and five grandchildren.

Jessica Beaty, MPH, MSN, RN

Jessica Beaty MPH, MSN, RN has worked in the field of women’s health and obstetrics for 10 years. Her experience ranges from home births with certified nurse-midwives in Lancaster, PA to the Whiteriver, Arizona serving the White Mountain Apache tribe. She developed a passion for maternal health prior to becoming an RN, pregnant with her first child. This passion lead her to pursue a Master of Public Health(MPH) degree to impact health at a more macro-level. She currently teaches OB theory and clinical at 2 colleges and works as a part-time contractor for PADOH, reviewing maternal deaths for PA’s Maternal Mortality Review program. 

Lived Experience Experts

Imani Davis

Imani is a lifelong resident of Philadelphia and a mom of two children, Curt (12 years) and Asani (3 years). After graduating from Central High School (259th class), she earned a certificate as a coding specialist and worked as a data specialist, customer care specialist, and an administrative health assistant. She is now working as a stay-at-home mom and a Community Specialist for Strategy Arts on the OVA project. After having a traumatic birth experience with her second child, where she experienced racism, Imani began to educate herself on the racial disparities in maternal and infant health that Black and Brown women in Philadelphia face. She brings a commitment to being part of the change that will keep Black and Brown women from pregnancy-related deaths to her work in OVA. Imani is an animal lover—she calls herself a “fur-baby Mama.” She also enjoys cooking, reading, and writing poetry.

Roxanne Green, MPH

Roxanne Green is a proud mother of a teenage daughter and a New York Transplant. She uses her Master's in Public Health to educate and encourages youth to make wise life decisions. Ms. Green has an affinity for teenage parents and all things maternal health. She likes to read and go to the gym.