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Lane County Commissioners Award $10K To Birth Center

Kelsey Cluff

A grassroots effort to re-instate birth center services in Lane County just received a financial boost.

There are currently no birth centers anywhere in the county. A $10,000 grant from the Board of Commissioners is meant to help change that.

AlexAnn Westlake is a certified nurse midwife and Executive Director of Our Community Birth Center She said the need for safe birth options is greater than ever.

“With the COVID pandemic and also because there’s a maternal heath crisis in the United States right now. Black moms are dying at four times the rate of white moms around the time of birth. That's because of racism.”

The national Black Mamas Matter Alliancerecommends access to midwives to improve those outcomes. Westlake said the birth center model of care is personalized and equitable.

Credit Ren McLemore
Nurse midwife AlexAnn Westlake tends to a newborn shortly after birth at the Birth Center.
Credit Puja Clifford
Puja Clifford holds her baby hours after delivering at the former Birth Center.

The midwives have raised nearly $140,000 dollars in start-up funds and now seek a clinic space in Eugene or Springfield. Westlake adds the ideal place would be between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet, homelike and not far from local hospitals.     


Strong Start for Newborns and Mothers study by Centers for Medicaid and Medicare published in 2018 shows improved outcomes with Birth Center care. Improved outcomes also occurred when results were analyzed by race.  https://innovation.cms.gov/innovation-models/strong-start

Tiffany joined the KLCC News team in 2007. She studied journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked in a variety of media including television, technical writing, photography and daily print news before moving to the Pacific Northwest.
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