This issue of The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing focuses on health disparities. The importance of this topic is reflected in our national headlines, our clinical outcome data, and our patients' voices. The articles in this issue provide data and examples that highlight some of the disparities experienced by childbearing persons and demonstrate how culturally competent care via different birth models can make a difference. The commentary by Monica McLemore, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN, presents a framework of retrofit, reform, and reimagine and ends with a call to action to co-construct paths to resolve health inequities.
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted prenatal care and care outcomes. Dove-Meadows et al used mixed methods to explore the perspectives of Black women on their care during the pandemic. Many of the participants in their study experienced loss that permeated through their lives. The authors recommend providing extra support and points of contact to lessen Black women's feelings of isolation during this pandemic.
A lack of consistent definitions of housing instability (HI) limits the ability to examine the literature regarding pregnancy-related morbidities among birthing individuals and infants. Robinson et al conducted a scoping review and found that many of the studies they reviewed reported mental health–related outcomes among birthing individuals with HI.
Two of the articles in this issue examine the role birth centers can play in reducing health disparities. Welch et al present a community-organizing approach to birth center development led by Black women that includes integration of evidence-based approaches to improve health outcomes. Data from the Association of Birth Centers Perinatal Data Registry, 2007-2020, support that the birth center model can provide safe care for medically low-risk childbearing people, but there were disparities. Jolles et al report that Black and Hispanic people were noted to have higher cesarean birth rates.
As nurses engage in more research to examine the impact of health disparities in Black pregnant people, Alexis Dunn Amore, PhD, CNM, FACNM, FAAN, encourages us to use a framework of reproductive justice to minimize harm. This article encourages researchers to consider ethical principles and intentional efforts to promote safety in the research setting.
In this issue of The Journal of Perinatal & Neonatal Nursing (JPNN), our focus is on health inequity and social determinants of health. We know that these issues have been persistently challenging across most, if not all, aspects of perinatal and neonatal nursing. And, they have been further amplified by the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic. Health inequity and social determinants of health are broad and diverse concepts. In our current issues, authors have submitted manuscripts from around the world, covering a range of topics that include parental perceptions related to neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) to home transitions among Black preterm infants. In addition, we have an article focused broadly on parent stressors in the NICU and how these differ among the general public and healthcare professionals. We also hear from authors who have engaged with parents on the design and appraisal of health literature, specifically the topic of necrotizing enterocolitis, tailored to Spanish-speaking families. Finally, our authors highlight the importance of maternal decision-making regarding feeding premature and ill newborns. Our readers will learn from all of our authors and, in doing so, translate this important knowledge to their practice.
In this issue, we feature our second Founders Column. In this column, we feature perspectives on the history of neonatal and perinatal nursing. Our hope is that by featuring a historical perspective, whether it be retrospective or prospective, we will gain new learnings for the future of perinatal and neonatal nursing. As always, we are grateful to all of our columnists, especially Carole Kenner, our Expert Opinion Neonatal columnist. We are always looking for new colleagues to join our JPNN community—please reach out to us if you would like to be a reviewer, editorial board member, or submit a manuscript. Thank you!
—Lynette Hamlin, PhD, RN, CNM, FACNM, FAAN
—Katherine Gregory, PhD, RN, FAAN