Anthropology and Global Health Professors Rachel Chapman and James Pfeiffer are collaborating on a new research and advocacy project titled, Mama Ammaan (Safe Mother) Project: African Mother to Mother Antenatal Assistance Network (AMMAAN). Funded by a UW Population Health Pilot Research Grant (School of Public Health, Department of Global Health and the UW Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology), the goal of this pilot is to test the feasibility of a community developed and run, culturally-congruent, group perinatal care services model working with local doulas to assist under-served immigrant and refugee communities in Southeast Seattle to access, navigate, and bridge perinatal health service gaps.

“Cultural congruence” refers to a quality of care that is possible when “providers and clients create an appropriate fit between professional practice and what patients and families need and want in the context of relevant cultural domains. Through culturally-congruent care, patient and family desires and needs are skillfully addressed in interaction with providers who adapt care to meet the patients’ unique needs” (Shim and Boorenbos 2010: 260).

“It was just about the time that legislation was passing which sought to block immigration from what amounted to selected Muslim countries, that we started developing this idea for research here at home, in Seattle. In the spirit of advocacy that our work has always centered, we asked ourselves, what do you do when, in our name, our government seeks to limit the freedom, relationships, family unity and dignity of our Muslim friends, colleagues, and communities? We seek to honor their presence by securing safe passage of families who are here, and who deserve the best of care and have a right to continuity here in the US. When they go low, we tried to figure out what going high would look like. This project came out of those discussions,” Dr. Chapman explained.


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