Breaking Down Barriers to Equal Access to Reproductive Health Care — 079

Oct 29

Few people have the tenacity and the resolve to recognize a gap in women’s health care services and then break down the barriers to fill the gap and find a place for themselves amid the new design. But, that is exactly what today’s guest, Director of Midwifery Care, Nikia Grayson, CNM, DNP, MPH did at CHOICES — Memphis Center for Reproductive Health in Memphis, Tennessee.

Coming from the DC area, Nikia found the infant mortality rates among families of color in Memphis distressing. With a lack of community-based programs and very little influence left over from the Granny Midwives of the past, Nikia set her sights on creating a high-quality, non-judgmental, comprehensive reproductive health center the entire community could use.

The organization Nikia helped transform — CHOICES — started as a cash-only abortion clinic. The organization now provides different health care choices based on community needs. During our conversation, Nikia shares information about her personal journey to becoming a midwife, the new birthing center, and how MotherBirth listeners can support the program.

Her passion for women, providing equal access for the entire community, and focusing on the entire spectrum of reproductive health needs is so inspiring.  We are so excited to share this incredible conversation.

In This Episode:


  • The barriers to becoming a midwife

  • How she built trust and relationships within the community

  • How funds are raised for the reproductive center

  • How policy and politics have disrupted the long-standing tradition of midwifery

  • The importance of high-quality, non-judgmental care

  • How the same women who have babies are the same women who have abortions

  • Why having a birth team is important

  • The past role of a Granny Midwife in a community

  • How to support the work of CHOICES, locally or otherwise

  • How to get a free 1-month trial of guided meditations through Expectful

Show Notes:

Memphis CHOICES Website

Memphis CHOICES on Facebook on Instagram

Expectful — 1 Month Free Trial for MotherBirth Community Members









About Our Guest:

Nikia Grayson is a public health advocate, anthropologist and nurse-midwife who has devoted her life to serving and empowering people in underserved and marginalized communities. Nikia graduated from Howard University with a bachelors and masters degree in communications and public health respectively, from University of Memphis with a masters in medical anthropology and from the University of Tennessee with a masters in nursing and a doctorate in nurse practice. She completed her post-masters certificate in midwifery at Frontier Nursing University. Nikia is a 2018-2019 Duke University Johnson and Johnson Nurse Leader Fellow and has more than 15 years experience working in public health, with her more recent work focusing on reproductive rights, birth justice, and midwifery. She is passionate about ensuring all persons have the rights and means to make decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health. She presently works as a family nurse-midwife in Memphis at CHOICES Memphis Center for Reproductive Health, where they are working to open the first birth center in the city.

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