Connecting the Dots Foundation, Inc. celebrates Women Storytellers for Women’s History Month

It was a night to remember. It was a time for reflection. It was a moment of appreciation. It was an occasion of encouragement. Those gathered at Connecting the Dots Foundation’s 6th Annual National Women’s History Month Celebration paused to spend time with family, friends, acquaintances, honorees, scholars and artists at the downtown Jackson Convention Complex (105 E. Pascagoula Street, Jackson, Miss.) Saturday, March 11, 2023, at 6 p.m. The theme was Celebrating Women Who Tell Our Stories. WLBT’s Maggie Wade Dixon and Walt Grayson hosted the affair.


Black maternal deaths and disparities increase in Mississippi

Excerpt from NBC News – The Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report shows that the maternal mortality rate increased by 8.8% between 2013‐2016 and 2017‐2019, with the latter period being the most recent one analyzed by researchers.

Black, non-Hispanic women had a rate four times higher than white, non-Hispanic women, according to a report released Thursday by the state’s Department of Health.

The grim figures arrive as the state is expecting more births each year as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court decision last summer overturning the 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling, which had established a nationwide constitutional protection for abortion. The court used a Mississippi case to overturn the case, a legal effort the state’s leaders have lauded.

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A coalition of Mississippi advocates is calling for Strong Babies and Healthy Mothers

Excerpt from MPB – Among the coalition of activists calling on the legislature to extend postpartum Medicaid is Cassandra Welchlin, Executive Director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Round Table. She says postpartum care isn’t just an issue that would affect mothers.

Welchlin says, “It’s a family issue, it’s a community issue, it’s a state issue. Because all the benefits that we know exist and all the roles that a mom and a woman plays. So it’s just going to be huge. And it’s going to lower the maternal mortality rate, which is what we’re trying to do.”

Mississippi has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the nation.


MS Maternal Mortality Report

JACKSON, Miss. — The latest Mississippi Maternal Mortality Report, released today, shines a glaring light on even greater disparities between white and black outcomes for new mothers.

The Mississippi Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) is statutorily tasked with investigating maternal deaths to identify opportunities for improvement and make recommendations for preventing future deaths.
For the 2017- 2019 reporting period key findings of the 93 deaths include:
    •    43 percent of maternal deaths were directly related to pregnancy. 87.5 percent were determined to be preventable, and 57.5 percent occurred during pregnancy or within 60 days after delivery;
    •    Black, non-Hispanic women had a maternal mortality rate four times higher than White, non-Hispanic women; and
    •    Most maternal deaths among Black, non-Hispanic mothers were attributed to cardiovascular conditions and cardiomyopathy (a weakening of the heart muscle).
The report also includes recommendations to policy makers, including ensuring that insurance coverage exists before pregnancy, and extends beyond the 60 day postpartum period (now in place) to one year.
State Health Officer Dr. Dan Edney continues to advocate for access to care for all Mississippians.
“It is imperative that we take care of our most vulnerable populations now. This is the only way we can move Mississippi’s health status off the bottom of the chart. Access to healthy environments and healthy foods can and will reduce the prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure – all conditions that lead to cardiovascular disease,” said Edney.
The report also includes recommendations for hospitals, providers and expectant mothers.
The Mississippi State Department of Health includes programs such as WIC, Family Planning and Reproductive Services, Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Early Intervention, Genetic Services, Healthy Moms/Healthy Babies, Safe Sleep, and Breast and Cervical Cancer, all to ensure the safety of both mothers and infants.
The report can be found at
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The Pulse: Cassandra Welchlin

Excerpt from MS Today–Cassandra Welchlin, executive director of the Mississippi Black Women’s Roundtable, and Mississippi Today health reporter Will Stribling discuss the roundtable’s Mississippi Voices project. The project is seeking to elevate the experiences of Black women and girls who face barriers to accessing health care by collecting and sharing their stories.