Humanity 2.0 Lab publishes innovative white paper on improving maternal health worldwide

Coauthored By Jennie Joseph founder Commonsense ) is a 501(C)3 non-profit organization that houses The Birth Place birth center, the Easy Access Women’s Health Clinic and the National Perinatal Task Force ( ).


Humanity 2.0 Lab – the pioneering maternal health platform – published its first white paper on the state of maternal health worldwide. The paper identifies toxic environments as critical factors in hindering maternal health, including hundreds of women who die each day in pregnancy and childbirth, as well as impeding optimal health and development of the next generation. Moving from research to action, the white paper describes the Lab’s processes for mitigating these environments and contributing towards protecting the lives and health of women and children.

“Maternal health is one of the most important R&D projects in the history of humanity,” says Morad Fareed, CEO of the Humanity 2.0 Lab and Co-Founder of Delos. “Yet, around the world today, women are still dying during pregnancy, labor and the postpartum period, and two-thirds of these deaths are preventable. Doesn’t this bother you? Our Lab is a collaborative response to provide women – before, during, and after pregnancy – with leading science-based tools to help save lives and help build healthier humans.”

The white paper is produced in collaboration with experts from five organizations – Delos, Square Roots, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Commonsense Childbirth, and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. The insights at the core of the team’s work identify some of the most common elements of toxic environments – including air pollution, stress, under-employment, and lack of support and services – with exposure likelihood influenced by the mother’s social context (e.g., racism, classism, and gender discrimination). Toxic environments not only affect the mother, but also influence the child’s birth outcomes and future health. The team’s approach has focused on expanding the window from the narrow episode of pregnancy to the entirety of a woman’s and infant’s lifetime, thereby highlighting the lifelong and intergenerational health consequences of materno-toxicity.

“We know that our indoor environments have a tremendous impact on our health and wellness,” said Paul Scialla, CEO and Founder of Delos. “With the launch of the Humanity 2.0 Lab, we are taking another step towards transforming the way we think about building design, products, materials and technologies, and to making better-informed decisions for both maternal health and the well-being of people everywhere.”

Developed in collaboration with Delos, a wellness real estate and technology company, the Humanity 2.0 Lab will leverage the enormous body of science within the healthy environments movement and apply it towards the critical periods of human development – pregnancy and infancy. This includes over seven years of Delos’ research with leading experts and institutions on how the places where we live, work, sleep and play can promote health, wellness, stress resilience, performance, restfulness and joy.

“Clinical and public health research and practice are currently very specialized, so Humanity 2.0 Lab’s holistic approach is important,” explains Dr. Ana Langer, who leads the Women and Health Initiative at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. “We want to break silos and look at women’s health throughout the life course and across generations, because people’s health at every stage of their life will influence how healthy they are now and in the future.”

“The wearing down of a woman’s sense of self, her humanity, is so dangerous – in fact during pregnancy and birth it’s lethal,” explains Jennie Joseph, founder of Commonsense Childbirth Inc. and a co-author of the white paper. “Respectful, culturally-safe care supports and maintains dignity and prevents these poor outcomes. The Lab is going to be integral to the work, and hopefully, will reach women in especially marginalized areas and materno-toxic zones.”

The white paper will act as a blueprint for a revolutionary pilot on the island of Malta that will inform a new, cross-sector Lab platform that will be founded at a leading US center of academic excellence this fall.

Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, Former President of Malta, offered to run pilot projects, after attending the second annual Humanity 2.0 forum of faith leaders, scientists, philanthropists and technology experts, held in Vatican City in May 2019.

“The Foundation and the Lab are both constructive and innovative,” she explained. “The idea is not simply to engage in a dialogue, but also produce outcomes. We hope that Malta can help develop, test and export that tool kit, offering practical support and assistance to other organizations and countries.”

Whilst most maternal deaths concentrate in poorer countries – nearly half in Sub-Saharan Africa and one-third in South Asia – suboptimal maternal outcomes exist worldwide. Furthermore, the United States has significantly higher rates of maternal mortality than most countries similar to it socio-demographically. This burden is not distributed equitably: 42.8 pregnancy deaths per 100,000 live births occur among black American mothers, compared to just 13 among their white counterparts; similarly, rates of severe maternal morbidity among black American mothers are 112–115% higher than among white mothers.

The Lab’s facility and platform will compile evidence and develop a comprehensive method for assessing what the team has identified as toxic social, physical, clinical and environmental factors and then develop customized toolkits to be scaled and delivered through global platforms, including the Catholic Church, which manages approximately 26% of the world’s healthcare facilities and includes 700,000 religious sisters across the world.

To download the white paper, click here.

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