Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. Sigma Kappa Zeta Chapter stands by the belief that the threat of death or long-term illness of women and children should not be a problem that we are living with today; however, we realize this is not the case. In several communities in the United States, the prematurity rate continues to decrease; despite this, communities of color still display disparities in birth outcomes. This is a sad reality for many reasons, but more so because poor birth outcomes are an indication of the long-term health or poor health of a community. In addition, there is a rising issue that has been gaining national attention: Maternal Morbidity and Mortality. This shines a light on the number of women - primarily women of color - that are losing their lives in childbirth as well as those who become susceptible to illness during pregnancy that may ultimately threaten their lives. According to the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (2016) report on Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM), the community districts with the highest SMM rates are all in Brooklyn: Brownsville (497.4 per 10,000 deliveries), East Flatbush (479.8 per 10,000 deliveries) and East New York (404.2 per 10,000 deliveries). Most deliveries in these neighborhoods were to Black non-Latina women: 76% of all deliveries in Brownsville, 87% in East Flatbush and 52% of all deliveries in East New York were to Black non-Latina women. As a sorority comprised largely of African American women and as a chapter located in Central Brooklyn, we are very concerned with the many health issues that seem to plague our women. We cannot sit idly by while our community continues to suffer in these ways. We are an action-oriented organization and we calling ourselves to action in the form of developing opportunities to educate our community in hopes of empowering them to become advocates for their individual health (thus the inception of the community forum).
To address the health of our women and children, Sigma Kappa Zeta Chapter has developed targeted activities to provide the knowledge and resources necessary to improve the health outcomes within our community.
Health Focused Programs for the 2018/2019 Sorority Year include:
Partnering with Brookdale University Hospital for a Women’s Health Education Forum on Maternal Morbidity & Mortality
Hosting a Women’s Health Forum at the 2019 NYS Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislatures conference
Hosting the weekly Fit & Finer exercise series in Prospect Park
Hosting the Fit and Finer Wellness Day of Health Information, Exercise & Wellness at Nazareth Regional High School
Hosting the Stork’s Nest at Kings County Hospital, a Prenatal Education & Incentive program open to all pregnant women
Hosting youth groups for young ladies ages 4-18 to whom we mentor and guide to make healthy choices, sooner in life
We will continue to forge forward with the development of programs that address the health and wellness of women and children in Brooklyn.
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., Sigma Kappa Zeta Chapter is an organization of community conscious, college educated women dedicated to volunteerism, coalition building and service to our community!