RecomMENDations for Healing a Biased Healthcare System

Implicit bias training is now mandated for providers in California. Designed to tackle the racial disparity gap in maternal health outcomes, the intent of SB464 is to improve clinical outcomes for Black women and birthing people. However, it is unknown whether implicit bias training has a significant impact or what factors could maximize its impact. To gain insights into this question, researchers started the MEND study. Through interviews and focus groups, the MEND study has gathered insights from perinatal clinicians and Black mothers in order to identify key challenges and opportunities for effective clinician implicit bias training.

During our September Collaboratory, the MEND study team, made up of interdisciplinary researchers and community advisors, shared their results. Together, we can develop a deeper understanding of implicit bias training, its potential, and how to make the most of this historic state-wide intervention.

Learn More about the MEND Study

Learning Objectives

  • Understand how bias and racism are a problem in the delivery of care in maternal health systems.
  • Identify challenges and opportunities to provide effective clinician implicit bias training as shared by patients and providers in the MEND study.
  • Identify how you can act on MEND practice and policy recommendations to reduce bias and its effects in maternal healthcare.

Additional birth equity resources for patients, providers, and health system leaders



Linda Jones | Co-investigator & Community Advisor, MEND Study

Linda Jones is a birth and postpartum doula, photographer and mother, grandmother and great-grandmother who lives in Oakland, CA. She owned Waddle and Swaddle Birth Resource Center in Berkeley, CA from 2000 to 2010 and has been a part of the natural birth advocacy and birth justice community in the Bay Area for over three decades. She is a co-founder of Black Women Birthing Justice, and is a co-author of Battling Over Birth; Black Women and the Maternal Health Care Crisis in California. Linda’s recent work has been centered around training and mentoring people of color to be doulas for low-income people of color.  


Julie Harris | Collaborator & Community Advisor, MEND Study

Julie Harris is a native of San Francisco. Julie is an executive program coordinator for PTBi and has worked as a consultant for reproductive justice, maternal, paternal & children’s health, health & wellness, childhood development and parent resource community development. She has dedicated her work to improving the disparities impacting melanated and marginalized communities. Julie is a mother of three children. She has had women very close to her experience pre-term births, which has made it a cause she holds close to the chest. Julie would like to see saturation in awareness of preterm birth and increased knowledge of preconception health in her community. 


Breezy Powell | Collaborator & Community Advisor, MEND Study

Breezy Powell is a soft heart yet strong-minded leader, visionary, teacher, and more. She is a certified massage therapist, doula, and dance instructor based in the Bay Area. She is currently the administrative assistant to PTBI's San Francisco Collective Impact partner, Expecting Justice. Her nurturing and vibrant energy inspires and opens people up to experience their own self love, joy, and healing like no other.  

Sarah Garrett | Principal Investigator, MEND Study

Sarah B. Garrett, PhD, is a medical and cultural sociologist. She works to promote health equity via stakeholder-informed mixed-methods research, focusing in particular on maternal health. She is faculty in the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies (IHPS) and the Department of Humanities & Social Sciences at UC San Francisco. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently, Sarah’s research focuses on hospitals' efforts to advance maternal health equity. The MEND study, which concludes this year, focuses on clinician implicit bias training, which hospitals and alternative birthing centers in California are required to provide every two years. MEND2, launched this summer, investigates a broader range of steps hospitals are taking to advance maternal health equity.