About Heather Clarke

The Impact of Transgenerational Influences and Race on Perinatal Outcomes for Black Women living in the United States

Despite the strong consensus that racism is the underlying factor responsible for race-related maternal-child health disparities in the United States, there exists a lack of awareness about the negative impacts of transgenerational and epigenetic influences on perinatal health outcomes. This is especially true to Blacks living in America. Lessons learned from Dr. Christine Monk and others demonstrate that trauma during the perinatal period can result in alternations in gene expression and behaviors at least four generations. forward. The implications for screening and delivery of perinatal care to improve race related perinatal disparities are significant. Providers who care for Blacks must obtain a transgenerational history to gain insight into the inherent health risks to the mother and unborn child. This presentation will present a detailed discussion about transgenerational trauma resulting from racism and its association with perinatal trauma among Blacks living in the US. In addition, participants will learn how the experience of transgenerational trauma for Blacks may vary depending on whether their recent family origins are from Africa, the Caribbean or the USA. In addition, recommendations for screening, and building resiliency using ritual and healing traditions are explored

About Heather Clarke, CPM

Heather Clarke earned her undergraduate degree from State University of New York, Downstate. She obtained a Masters in Nursing with a specialty in Midwifery from Columbia University and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Frontier Nursing University. For most of her career, Dr. Clarke has combined her love of clinical practice with that of teaching nurse-midwifery students. In the past, she has worked as an assistant professor in the nurse-midwifery educational programs at Columbia University and SUNY Downstate. She joined the faculty of Frontier Nursing University in 2012 and now serves as the course coordinator for the professional role of the nurse-midwife. Her focus is on trauma prevention, preconception and disparities, especially on the development of an intergenerational preconception curriculum to help at-risk women learn how to overcome and build resiliency to the social and racial stressors that increase their risk for poor birth outcomes. . She currently serves as a board member of the Association to Advance Black Birth (NAABB) and the Association of Pre and Perinatal Psychology and Health (APPPAH) where she hopes to create a model of care that will address pre and perinatal trauma and experiences that can impact birth outcomes and the development of fetal origins of physical and psychological disease. Listen to her talk about birth and birth psychology: https://youtu.be/jzrqYpfsVR0