Sourced from: News 5 Cleveland
Originally written by: Amanda Merrell
EUCLID, Ohio — News 5 Evening Anchor Courtney Gousman continues her series, Delivering Better Results, with the story of two women who saw the need for more compassionate and culturally relevant healthcare, so they created a clinic designed with Black women in mind.
In the short time they’ve been open, Village of Healing co-founders Dána Langford and Tenisha Gaines have produced some promising results for moms and babies, doing their part to help reduce local maternal and infant mortality rates.
Now that duo is planning to double down on their efforts with another location, a local foundation is backing this project with some big money.
Walking into this Euclid clinic is like walking into a history lesson.
Every room is named after an important figure in Black history, especially those who represent progress on women’s issues.
The exam rooms are named after the three enslaved women whose bodies were used to advance gynecological care:
Anarcha, Lucy and Betsy.
“These three Black women’s bodies were tortured and sacrificed. They were tied down so that the pain wouldn’t cause involuntary movement. Again no pain medicine was used,” said Langford.
Langford and Gaines worked at local hospital systems before leaving their jobs to open their clinic on Valentine’s Day of 2022.
“We knew Black women and babies would continue to die at horrendous rates if we didn’t act. My friends were making decisions not to have children…because of the infant and maternal mortality rates in Cleveland,” said Langford.
Inspirational quotes and Black art fill the walls at Village of Healing. In just over a year, the clinic has served more than 700 patients. They’re women who need pre and postnatal care, gynecological care, menopause treatments, and even mental health.
“Let’s provide a safe space for Black providers to truly practice the way that they should, which is culturally sensitive care. Let’s provide a safe space for Black women and babies,” Langford said.
Charnay Tyes not only works at Village of Healing. She’s now a patient.
“These patients come in. They take their time. They have a conversation with them because sometimes it’s not just about a doctor’s visit,” said Tyes.
Tyes told Courtney she started to work there in January and heard from patients about their experience. By March, she decided she wanted to know what all the hype was about.
“It’s more intimate,” she said. “And I feel like they actually focus on me, and they’re not focused on a laptop.”
“We know that when your provider looks like you, your disparities decrease, your outcomes are better,” said Langford.
Langford told Courtney that because patients have been asking for more services, the team has decided to double down on their efforts, preparing to open a second clinic offering even more services like pediatrics and family medicine.
“We’re going to start the very first in Ohio pediatric-postpartum model. And what that means is that you are going to bring your baby with you to your appointment for those first 12 months, and you’re also going to be seen as the mom for your postpartum visits,” said Langford.
That second location will be based in Cleveland’s Buckeye-Shaker community since 30% of their patients travel from that neighborhood.
To help with the new center, St. Luke’s Foundation granted Village of Healing $1,000,000 towards the project. Courtney spoke with the foundation’s Senior Program Manager, Christie Manning.
“At the end of the day, the thing that I think is the most compelling is that they’re getting outcomes in terms of maternal well-being postpartum, infant well-being postpartum that are far better than what we see in other places,” said Manning.
Langford told Courtney the clinic’s pre-term birth rate is 6%, which is much lower than the national average of 14.8% for Black women, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
“It’s clear to me that part of what they’re trying to do is serve as a partial antidote to the impact that racism has on Black women, Black infants, and Black families,” said Manning.
“What we’re doing is making sure our community is taken care of and that our community is given a fighting chance to survive,” said Langford.
The goal is to open the new clinic in 2024. Village of Healing also has a partnership with Birthing Beautiful Communities, which provides free doulas to the clinic’s expectant mothers.
CLICK HERE to learn more about Village of Healing.