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Who We Are

The Kansas Birth Equity Network (KBEN) is a community-centered initiative founded by Dr. Sharla Smith in collaboration with local Divine Nine chapters in Wichita, Kansas to bring together parents, community members, community organizations, doulas, midwives, physicians and more to increase awareness of the Black maternal health crisis, understand the impact of racial discrimination and chronic stress on maternal and infant outcomes, and develop solutions to improve the health of Black families.

Since 2021, KBEN has grown to include stakeholders from across the state of Kansas and the Kansas City Metro. Our diverse network members work together to create a safe space to have authentic conversations, elevate and celebrate Black families, and inform birth equity work across the state and region.


To use a community-centered approach to create solutions that improve Black maternal, paternal, and infant health in Kansas through training, research, healthcare, and advocacy.


Every Black mom, dad, and infant receives quality and intentional prenatal, neonatal, and postpartum care in the state of Kansas.‚Äč

KBEN Interest Form

A few reasons to join KBEN according to our members!

Reasons to join KBEN: Collaborative approach; Evening meetings are convenient for me; I'm able to join from anywhere; Children are always welcome;I believe in KBEN's mission; Shared Research Agend; Accessible, Understandable, Honest Information; Shared Values & Experiences; Like-minded, passionate activists for change; Safe space to share; KBEN supports projects in my community; Birth Equity; I feel like I'm making a difference; I want to help others; Opens doors for new opportunities; Enables me to share information & enrich others; Commitment to awareness, advocacy; accountability; KBEN encourages me to grow.

  • Collaborative approach
  • Evening meetings are convenient for me!
  • I'm able to join from anywhere!
  • Children are always welcome!
  • I believe in KBEN's mission
  • Shared Research Agenda
  • Accessible, Understandable, Honest Information
  • Shared Values & Experiences
  • Like-minded, passionate activists for change
  • Safe space to share
  • KBEN supports projects in my community!
  • Birth Equity!
  • I feel like I'm making a difference
  • I want to help others!
  • Opens doors for new opportunities
  • Enables me to share information & enrich others
  • Commitment to awareness, advocacy, accountability
  • KBEN encourages me to grow!

Keep up with us on social media!

Facebook icon @ksbirthequity

Instagram logo @ksbirthequity

Kansas Birth Equity Network

Sharla Smith, Ph.D., MPH