October 7, 2022

Rootead opens easy-access clinic to expand perinatal healthcare in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI — A new holistic approach to reproductive care has arrived in Kalamazoo.

Rootead’s Red Birth Green branch recently opened the Obodo Perinatal Easy Access Clinic, intended to expand reproductive healthcare available to families in Kalamazoo, according to a press release from Rootead.

Rootead’s Red Birth Green branch already provided full-spectrum care and support to area families, offering the services of a full team of doulas, fertility educators, lactation consultants, early childhood specialists and more, the release said.

Related: Rootead’s birth doula program aims to lower Kalamazoo’s racial disparity in infant mortality

The organization’s new easy-access clinic advances the goal of helping every woman have a “peaceful and empowered pregnancy, birth and postpartum experience and for every baby to be born healthy and full-term,” the release said.

The space, which is located within Rootead’s headquarters at 505 E. Kalamazoo Ave., celebrated its grand opening Monday, Feb. 21. It’s name, Obodo, comes from the Igbo language of Nigeria, and translates to “village.”

“The mission of Obodo is to serve as a space for families to connect to our community and find answers, education, care and resources,” Red Birth Green Director Élan Bridges said.

The center also provides free pregnancy testing, basic perinatal care and assistance.

“Everyone is familiar with the adage, ‘It takes a village to raise a child,’” Bridges said. “Kalamazoo, we are your village.”

Red Birth Green was founded as the Rootead Doula Collective in 2016, as a way to address Black infant mortality.

Red Birth Green is now accredited as an Official Perinatal Safe Spot, trained in the JJ Way Model from Commonsense Childbirth Inc., founded by world-renowned midwife Jennie Joseph.

“Joseph’s career and mission address the many materno-toxic environments in the United States,” the release said. “These are areas where institutional racism and other non-medical societal factors impacting a population’s health combine, creating a climate in which it is unsafe to be pregnant or raise children.

“The goal of The JJ Way is to eliminate racial and class disparities in perinatal health and improve birth outcomes for all,” the release said.

Joseph visited Kalamazoo in the fall of 2021 to train the Rootead team in preparation for the upcoming clinic opening.

Red Birth Green’s Easy Access Clinic expands Rootead’s ability to provide the four tenants of the philosophy: access, connections, knowledge, and empowerment to all birthing parents, their families, and supporters, the release said.

Obodo’s holistic perinatal approach also includes fertility support.

“We often forget about the importance of fertility and a healthy menstrual cycle when it comes to perinatal care,” said Red Birth Green Coordinator and Fertility Specialist Rowan Jakobah. “In reality, the majority of women have some kind of difficulty with their menstrual cycle that goes totally unacknowledged, and this is why I became a fertility awareness educator – to help people take their fertility back into their own hands and prevent so many of the difficulties that can come in the birth and postpartum times.”

Rootead is currently seeking doulas and health care practitioners to help meet those growing needs in our community. Those interested should visit rootead.org.

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