Free Webinar Series

The Impact of Racism in Healthcare and the Perinatal Period

Envision a world where all people are heard and have a circle of support for the entire perinatal period. This two part webinar series features guest presenters Heather Thompson and Vita Malama from the Elephant Circle reproductive justice and advocacy group in Denver, Colorado. They start by examining the history and origins of racism in the US, including in reproductive health, the bias it creates, and ends with solutions on how providers and educators can lessen its impact through actions, education, and support.

Part 1: The History of Racism in Healthcare

In the first webinar, we will examine the history of racism in the United States by looking at unconscious biases people have and discuss the timeline of reproductive justice. Our guests will also discuss white culture in preparation for the second webinar that will teach you how to put awareness into action.


  • Increase knowledge of history and origins of racism in the United States
  • Understand bias and the framework of bias that continues oppression
  • Describe practices of racism and recognize how racism has evolved over time in the United States
an illustration of a group of diverse couples and families on a pink background

Meet Your Presenters
Vita Malama

Vita Malama, MA

Vita Malama, MA is a certified birth doula and trained Survivors of Trauma consultant. She is passionate about women’s and maternal wellness. Vita received MA from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, exploring organizational human performance. She combines her love for maternal health, childbirth education and birth coaching with psychology to provide a holistic approach to birth preparation and childbirth recovery.

Vita desires to increase positive birth experiences and postpartum recovery outcomes by strengthening childbirth literacy and empowering families. She is the author of the Birthing Insights® maternal assessment, a survey tool designed to measure birth readiness and pregnancy related risk factors. The tool is intended to strengthen continuity of care postpartum and provide increased transparency for timely interventions.

Heather Thompson

Heather Thompson, MS, PhD

Heather Thompson, MS, PhD, is a molecular and cellular biologist, clinical researcher, birthworker, and queer parent with non-binary gender. Heather uses she/her pronouns and has worked on issues related to reproductive health for more than 25 years, advocating for equity, access and autonomy in childbirth. From 2010-2017 she was the Director of Research at a community birth center in Colorado, advocating for midwives and community birth through data generation, analysis and dissemination. Currently she is the Deputy Director of Elephant Circle, a birth justice organization, doing work that allows her to combine her background in birth access and equity with science and community organizing. She is passionate about supporting the family unit and helping families navigate their own journey, particularly as it relates to maternity care, birth choices, and legal cannabis. Born and raised in Colorado, Heather enjoys being outside around a campfire with her partner, two kids and larger community.

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