The city of Rialto took strides toward addressing gaps in access to maternal and infant health care with the grand opening of the NAEBOR Clinic on Oct. 24.
As part of the Mommy and Me Medical Group owned by Dr. Guillermo J. Valenzuela, NAEBOR is an acronym that stands for Neighborly, Adaptable, Equitable Care for Black Obstetric Patients with Respect, characteristics the clinic and its providers plan to uphold as they deliver care to Black mothers and Black pregnant people.
“I’m happy that we are seeing this NAEBOR Medical Group and the innovation and commitment that you plan on bringing to our community,” said Rialto mayor Deborah Robertson. “In San Bernardino County, as we all know, we’re experiencing a high public health crisis when it comes to Black pregnant women and their children. And this is nothing new.”
The NAEBOR clinic is staffed with Black medical physicians and health professionals who are working to deliver care that is tailored to the needs of Black mothers and Black pregnant people who have poor maternal and infant health outcomes, both in California and in the county of San Bernardino.
Staff includes Maternal Fetal Medicine specialists, Dr. Jasmine Coleman and Dr. Camille Okekpe, who both provide support for high risk pregnancies; Physician Assistant Danette Brown, who will focus on prenatal care; Dr. Kendra Flores-Carter, who will provide social service support to patients and Dr. Erica McIntosh, a licensed clinical social worker who will support individuals and families emotionally and mentally.
“The NAEBOR Medical Group, for me, represents so much. It represents the sole reason why I decided to go into medicine,” said Dr. Coleman who grew up in rural Alabama and heard stories about struggles to access medical care. “This represents a way for us to combat the disparities that we continue to see with our Black pregnant moms. Having this clinic developed…shows that we’re going to be able to have a way to meet our patients halfway.”
In the U.S., Black women and birthing people are three to four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related causes than their White counterparts. In California, Black women and birthing people are four to six times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes.
The NAEBOR clinic offers three models of care: traditional care where patients will be seen by a Black prenatal care provider in the clinic; telehealth where patients will meet with a Black prenatal care provider for a limited amount of appointments and all other visits will be performed virtually; and intense care where those who have high risk pregnancies will meet with the provider in office during pregnancy, in addition to weekly virtual visits.
The NAEBOR clinic is equipped with three Obstetric/Gynecology rooms, a lab, a room for providers, a Child Protective Services/Case Management room, family and pediatrics rooms and an isolation room.
According to Dr. Flores-Carter, the proposal and development for the clinic took two years of planning in collaboration with Dr. Valenzuela, who is a long-practicing OB/Gyn physician, board-certified in Maternal Fetal Medicine, in the Inland Empire.
“In San Bernardino County, Black women have among the lowest rates of early prenatal care, when compared to mothers of other races. These statistics are simply unacceptable,” said Dr. Valenzuela. “By increasing access to culturally appropriate prenatal care for pregnant Black women in San Bernardino County, we can improve perinatal outcomes and improve the health of Black women and their families in our communities.”
During the grand opening, Dr. Valenzuela explained that he wanted to see change in terms of maternal and fetal health outcomes throughout the community and that the clinic’s goal is to be a model for addressing maternal health outcomes.
The NAEBOR Medical Group, located at 416 W. Foothill Blvd. Rialto, CA, is currently open and welcoming new patients. For more information about how to make an appointment or learn more about the clinic, visit their website or call (909) 421-0493.
Read more reporting by Breanna Reeves on Black Maternal Health and Black birthing people in the inland region and beyond in her expansive report, Birthing While Black.in California.