Healthy Start Panel Discussion Explores Black Maternal Health Issue

Posted on March 6, 2023

Stuart, Fla. - Shamony Gibson died tragically just 13 days after the birth of her son. Amber Rose Isaac died during an emergency C-section. Both of these Black women died due to complications that could have been avoided.


Aftershock is a compelling film that follows their bereaved partners and family members as they become activists for Black maternal health and fight for the changes needed within the medical community and government programs.


The Martin County Healthy Start Coalition will hold a panel discussion about this film at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 1 at StarStruck Academy & Theater on Kanner Highway in Stuart. It is free and open to the public.


Nationally, Black women are three times as likely as White women to die from pregnancy-related causes. These causes range from limited access to health care to lack of maternal and child education, economic disparities, and systemic racism within some health and social services. Martin County has not had a maternal death since 2009, but there have been instances of Severe Maternal Morbidity, meaning a close encounter with death during the prenatal period, birthing and delivery, or post-partum.


“This film has gotten great reviews,” Healthy Start CEO Samantha Suffich said. “It captures the intense feelings of the families involved and shows that Black maternal health issues are about real people, not statistics. It’s also a positive film, showing that there are solutions to the problem of the disparities we see even in our own community for Black women experiencing pregnancy and childbirth.”


Community members are invited to watch the film on Hulu before coming to the panel discussion. “If you’ve watched the film, the discussion will be even richer,” Suffich said. “However, everyone is welcome to join us on April 1. It’s a chance to come together for creative actions to eliminate disparities.”


For further information on the film and the discussion, visit the Healthy Start website,


About Martin County Healthy Start

Martin County Healthy Start is a nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring that every baby is born healthy. It provides educational and health services to pregnant women, new mothers and their families at no cost, particularly expectant mothers who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.

Part of a statewide coalition, Healthy Start connects pregnant women and young mothers with essential services including prenatal care, home visitations by a nurse or social worker, breastfeeding support, parenting education, car seat and sleeping safety, a free diaper pantry, and access to other community partner agencies through the Betty Moore Prenatal Outreach Center. The David Cardno Father and Child Resource Center, also part of the Martin County Healthy Start Coalition, helps fathers to become more involved in parenting and offers legal assistance to fathers who are separated from their children.

The programs of Martin County Healthy Start Coalition are voluntary and available to all Florida residents at no cost.

For more information about Martin County Healthy Start Coalition and its ongoing programs, visit, call 772-463-2888 or follow the organization on Facebook.

comprehensive range of no-cost educational and health services to pregnant women and their families, particularly those who are at risk for late or no prenatal care.