New Mexico's Senate Bill 96 Passed!
Marinah, CWI's Executive Director, testified on behalf of CWI in support of New Mexico's Senate Bill 96 on March 3, 2021.
This bill improves representation on the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which had no Indigenous or Black representation, despite the overrepresentation of Indigenous and Black people in maternal mortality cases. It also makes community participation more accessible to community members (as opposed to agency professionals) by reimbursing members for time spent participating. This effort was spearheaded by Black Health New Mexico, an important community partner. The bill passed both the House and the Senate and will become law.
CWI's COVID-19 Care Requirement updates
Changing Woman Initiative would like to update you on some changes we’ve made in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has dramatically impacted the communities we serve in New Mexico. These measures were implemented under the strict guidance of the Department of Health, CDC, and CWI’s COVID - 19 Policy to protect and limit unnecessary exposure to the COVID-19, while continuing to provide care. Clients will be required to read and sign this agreement upon receiving care. Thank you and stay safe.
PBS News Hour Feature
Women in the U.S. are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than anywhere else in the developed world, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Native American women face some of the highest rates of death, and in Arizona, those disparities are even more profound. From the Cronkite School of Journalism, Jennifer Alvarez reports on an effort to fight maternal mortality among Native Americans.
CWI Statement of Solidarity
Our Creation Story
Changing Woman Initiative was dreamed up by founder Nicolle L. Gonzales, Navajo Nurse-Midwife. After years of working as a midwife in her community and seeing many Native American women struggle with navigating western medical healthcare systems, she felt there was a better way that would center the needs of the women and families she cared for. Nicolle saw assimilation being practiced from birth on which has a huge impact on a Native American family’s ability to bring their loved ones into this world. She wanted to reinstate a culturally supported and include ceremonial ways into births that is representative of the community they come from.
Since 2015, Changing Woman Initiative has been growing public awareness around the continuously overlooked issues of Native American maternal health and the lack of Native American/ Indigenous representation within midwifery in the United States. We became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in Spring 2018. During this time, CWI undertook a 12-month strategic planning process and digital storytelling project. We engaged with Native American women, families, midwives, doulas, and elders to discuss effective sustainable ways for Changing Woman Initiative to ensure access to decolonized Indigenously centered, accessible healthcare and traditional childbirth options for Native American women.
We are indigenous leaders and community healers, centering our families and communities, transforming the cultural narrative and setting in motion policy changes. Our mission is to support our diverse indigenous communities, to renew cultural birth, and the fundamental indigenous human right to reproductive health, dignity and justice.
Our vision is to restore the sovereignty of indigenous midwifery and community health with the return to gender equality and cultural birth practices.
To honor all our relations through language, land, ceremony, and traditions; with humility, responsibility, fortitude, compassion, generosity, and respect.