Roots Community Birth Center: A culturally-centered care model for improving value and equity in childbirth

Rachel R. Hardeman, J'Mag Karbeah, Jennifer Almanza, Katy B. Kozhimannil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Pernicious racial disparities in birth outcomes in the United States have their roots in structural racism—the systematic allocation of opportunities and resources based on race. These inequities, caused by systemic factors which contribute to lower quality of care, negatively impact the lives of Blacks/African Americans. The development of new maternity care models hold potential to reduce disparities and costs by focusing on the root cause of racism. Roots Community Birth Center is an African American-owned, midwife-led freestanding birth center in North Minneapolis. Roots provides a culturally-centered model of care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. The culturally-centered care model utilized by Roots Community Birth Center offers culturally-centered care that is community based, accepts Medicaid beneficiaries, and provides prenatal and postpartum visits that are customized to the needs of the birthing individual. Like other institutions, this birth center faces the financial challenges associated with maternity care payment models and inadequate Medicaid reimbursement, challenges that directly interfere with the center's culturally-centered care model which advocates for longer prenatal visits and close follow-up postpartum. The birth center model of care has proven effective; over the last four years Roots has had 284 families with zero preterm births. The culturally-centered care model used by Roots is not currently well-supported by maternity care payment models that were designed in large part to reflect typical care provided by obstetricians and hospitals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100367
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors acknowledge the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program for funding for this research. The authors also thank Rebecca Polston, CPM and Founder of Roots Community Birth Center for sharing her time and livelihood and Noam Katz for her contributions to the creation of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Inc.


  • Birth outcomes
  • Culture
  • Maternity care
  • Relationship centered care

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Journal Article


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