Sharon Ann Taylor-Smalls’ midwife practice at BKLYN Commons is making a significant impact on the health care of women in underserved communities.
She has long championed spending quality time with her patients and empathizing with them. It’s an approach that results in better outcomes, according to new research.
“Health care needs to be relationship based,” she says. “That’s why we have poor health outcomes in the United States. It really breaks my heart if I can’t spend time with my patients.”
Sharon is also passionate about providing quality care to women of color who generally receive poor health care services.
“I believe this is my calling,” says Sharon, whose compassion for helping those in need also brings her into immigrant communities. “All of these women must be treated with the human dignity they deserve.”
Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Black mothers are 2.3 times more likely than white mothers to receive late or no prenatal care. Also, African American infants are nearly 4 times as likely to die from complications related to low birth weight compared to white infants.
Sharon always had an interest in women’s health care. That’s why she was a pre-med student in college, with plans to become an OB-GYN.
However, she decided to take a different route after completing her undergraduate studies. Instead of going to medical school, she earned a Master of Science in social work from Columbia University.
As a social worker, she gravitated toward working with women, developing important skills like listening closely to her clients and picking up on their nonverbal cues, as well as empathizing with their situation.
Ultimately, she returned to health care. In 2006, Sharon graduated from midwifery school. After working for other clinics, she decided to start her own practice, starting Redeemed Creations Midwifery Services in 2017.
She opened an office at BKLYN Commons’ Prospect Lefferts Gardens co-working space in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. That allowed her to care for the scores of expectant mothers who feared contracting the deadly virus at hospitals.
At her new office, Sharon provides a full range of services that include prenatal and postpartum care, as well as consultation on a variety of women’s health issues. She also performs deliveries mainly at Wyckoff Heights Medical Center and Brooklyn Birthing Center.
Sharon gave a lot of thought when choosing a name for her practice.
“Redeem Creation comes from a Christian standpoint where we are bought back into a relationship with God,” she explains. “I think of it as being redeemed from an employer where you are not free to do what you want to do.”
By that, she means previous employers wanted her to rush through visits – forcing her to fit in as many patients as possible each day for quick appointments.
“That’s the nature of care now in this country. You can’t really listen to patients in a 10-minute meeting. How can you pay attention to nonverbal cues that are important?” she asks. “That redemption for me is like owning yourself and not being a slave to what the healthcare system wants.”