Preventing Evictions and Implicit Bias Training: Policy Action to Improve Black Maternal Health in California

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In California, we are facing a period of significant policy transition that could impact the lives of Black and Brown birthing people for decades to come: the California evictions moratorium is set to expire on June 30th and SB464 California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act is in its initial stages of implementation with the goal of changing the way providers interact with their patients of color indefinitely. Now, more than ever is the time to acknowledge how policies affect the wellbeing and health of birthing people, especially for Black and Brown families.

​Signed into law in 2019, SB 464 - California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act - addresses the deep disparities in pregnancy-related Black deaths and severe injury by implementing mandatory implicit bias training for healthcare providers serving pregnant people.

For our June Collaboratory, two public policy consultants joined us to share research findings on the implementation of SB464 implicit bias training as well as the impact of evictions on birth outcomes. They were followed by an expert panel of women who are making a difference through policy action.

Learning Objectives

  • How evictions and housing insecurity impacts birthing families, especially during a pandemic
  • How some hospitals across California are implementing racial equity training required by SB464, what the facilitators and barriers are for this implementation, and best practices informed by community
  • What advocates for housing and Black maternal health are currently experiencing and fighting for
  • The potential impact of not extending the evictions moratorium and the potential impact of passing SB65, a Black maternal health bill currently in California legislature


Annie Dade

Annie Dade | Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley

Annie Dade is a recent graduate student at the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley and a researcher at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment. Her work spans research and advocacy for equitable investments in care work across the life spectrum, and she is dedicated to uplifting the leadership of those most impacted by policies. She is excited about this opportunity to support the movement for birth equity, and promote policies for anti-racist healthcare practice.


Kendle Kuechle

Kendle Kuechle | Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley

Kendle Kuechle is a second-year Master of Public Policy student at the UC Berkeley Goldman School of Public Policy. Before starting graduate school, Kendle worked as a researcher in the housing/real estate industry in Seattle. Kendle’s research interests include housing and economic policy, and she is very excited about this opportunity to analyze the intersection between housing, birth outcomes and racial justice. 


Shantay Davies-Balch

Shantay Davies-Balch |  BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center

Shantay Davies-Balch is the CEO at BLACK Wellness & Prosperity Center in Fresno and is the steering committee co-chair for  Fresno GROWS. Previously, she served as the Maternal Child Health Director for the Central San Joaquin Valley with the March of Dimes. She led the statewide Maternal Child Health Committee, was the Advocacy and Government Affairs Liaison, and was the March of Dimes co-lead for statewide health equity initiatives.

Shantay is a proud Fresno Pacific University Sunbird, where completed her undergraduate studies in healthcare administration and graduated Summa Cum Laude She received her MBA from Johns Hopkins University, Carey Business School with a specialty in healthcare management and is a certified lactation educator with expertise in premature birth, infant and maternal mortality, and breastfeeding. Shantay focuses on building non-clinical capacity and infrastructure to address disparate outcomes in perinatal health.

Nourbese Flint

Nourbese Flint |  Black Women for Wellness

Nourbese Flint serves as a program manager with Black Women for Wellness (BWW). She directs environmental and reproductive health work, organizes community advocacy, and works on policy. In addition, Nourbese serves as the head of civic engagement with Californians for a Healthy and Green Economy (CHANGE), where she strategically looks at the political landscape and helps design efforts to build power and address toxic chemicals as it relates to reproductive health through elections, legislative efforts and community politics. Before joining BWW, Nourbese studied women’s health in both Spain and Cuba and journalism in Scotland. Nourbese communication’s background includes serving as communication director for the Center of Women’s Health and Human Rights, as well as reporting for KPFK evening news in Los Angeles. Nourbese has a Masters of Arts in Women’s Health from Suffolk University, where she specialized in health disparities as it relates to media influence. Nourbese is a founding member of Trust Black Women; a national coalition dedicated to increasing respect and support of Black Women and is an active member of the Women’s Intercultural Network. Nourbese is a proud alumnus of San Jose State University, where she majored in Broadcast Journalism and African American Studies.

Cynthia Nagendra

Cynthia Nagendra | Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative

Cynthia Nagendra is the executive director at the Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative, a research institute at UCSF that studies homelessness. Previously she was the director for the Center for Capacity Building at the Alliance. Her experience includes providing assistance to communities around the country in implementing HEARTH, building system capacity to provide effective rapid re-housing, facilitating Continuum of Care processes, developing 10-year plans to end homelessness, facilitating system-level strategic planning and design, the planning and implementation of coordinated assessment systems and improving data systems to measure system performance. Before working at the Alliance, Ms. Nagendra worked as a staff attorney for HomeBase, The Center for Common Concerns. She also was a program manager for the St. Anthony Foundation Learning Center with homeless individuals and families in San Francisco. She has performed legal and policy work related to women’s rights, immigration and re-entry programming in New York City.

Dominique Walker

Dominique Walker | Moms4Housing

I am Dominique Walker. Oakland is my home. My family has been in Oakland since migrating from the rural south in the 1950s. I attended Castlemont High School before co-founding and graduating from the School of Social Justice & Community Development. I earned a B.A. in Sociology from Tougaloo College in Mississippi, and was living in Mississippi raising my younger sister and my children up until I moved back to Oakland, April 3rd, 2019. 
I was planning on going back to school for a Masters in Nursing until I saw how the housing crisis has impacted my community. I became homeless while working full time, like so many other working unhoused folks. Housing is a human right. Being homeless is very violent, and has so many harmful effects both physical and mental. I am taking a stand. Oakland CAN house ALL unhoused folks. There are four times as many empty homes in Oakland as there are homeless people. We have lost our humanity. There are children sleeping on the streets - we should be outraged! I am. I will continue fighting for the unhoused until we all have shelter!


Shanell Williams

Shanell Williams | California Preterm Birth Initiative

Shanell Williams is the Director of Community Engagement for the California Preterm Birth Initiative and a member of the Board of Trustees at City College of San Francisco. Over the past 16 years, Shanell has served thousands of San Franciscans as an informed, passionate and dedicated public advocate, nonprofit leader and community organizer. From mentoring youth trapped in cycles of incarceration—to saving city college from a near loss of accreditation and closure for the past four years— Shanell has worked tirelessly to improve all San Franciscan’s quality of life.