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New Birthing Center Coming to Crown Heights

SUNY Downstate received $2.7 million in federal funds to develop a new Women’s Health, Pediatric and Birthing Center.

New York State Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand have secured $2.7 million in federal funding to support SUNY Downstate’s Central Brooklyn Comprehensive Maternal and Child Health Network.

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University will use the money to develop a new Women’s Health, Pediatric and Birthing Center in Crown Heights, according to a news release. 

The new health center will have the capacity to provide care to 400 pregnant people and 15,000 outpatient visitors annually as the only birthing center in Brooklyn, aiming to decrease disparate maternal and infant mortality rates.

Beyond providing a safe, non-hospital setting for labor, the building will house lab testing facilities, counseling services, cancer screenings and routine primary care providers. 

“We are extremely grateful to Senators Schumer and Gillibrand for championing maternal and child healthcare and helping to secure funding that will enable us to reduce adverse health outcomes in central Brooklyn,” said SUNY Downstate President Wayne J. Riley. “The Birthing Center will provide critical primary and specialty care for two of the most vulnerable populations in an area with the highest rates of maternal mortality, infant mortality, and lack of prenatal care.”

Central Brooklyn is dealing with a maternal health crisis, with the highest rates of severe maternal morbidity (SMM) being Black immigrants concentrated in central Brooklyn, the news release said.

According to the NYC Health Department, there is a significant and pronounced Black-white maternal mortality gap in New York City. On average, the maternal mortality rate is 9.4 times higher for Black birthing persons compared to white counterparts.

“To have the patients we serve recognized by our elected leaders is instrumental in helping us to address the needs of all children and people seeking obstetric and gynecological care. This funding will provide invaluable resources for years to come, and we look forward to continuing to work toward our shared goal of a healthier Brooklyn community,” said Downstate Obstetrics & Gynecology Department Chair Camille A. Clare.