Wanda Irving envisions a health care system where no individual is excluded. Early in her career, Wanda developed a passion for leading community betterment and social change initiatives. She spent nearly three decades working in federal and local government, faith-based organizations, and in the non-profit arena where she focused her expertise to impact effective leadership development and meaningful engagement as a strategy to achieve resourceful solutions to complex community issues. After the untimely death of her daughter, Shalon Irving, following the birth of her own daughter, Wanda devoted her life’s work to bringing attention to health equity and racial equality. Wanda is currently developing a nonprofit to honor her daughter’s work, all while raising her 2 year old granddaughter, Soleil.
Maternal Care Reformer Wanda Irving had her life turned upside down when she lost her only daughter, Shalon Irving, at the hands of “the covert bias of her medical provider.” As Wanda explains, “that very bias, fueled by structural racism, is the root cause of disparities in health care. That very bias impacted Shalon’s outcome, and caused her to be included in the maternal mortality statistics for 2017.”
In her powerful TEDMED Talk, "How the US medical community fails Black mothers", Wanda reveals the horrific statistics that feed into the systemic disparities which result in Black women dying at rates almost 300% higher than White women. Today, over 3 years later, Wanda is working to promote accountability measures in postpartum care bills and she invites us to use the full range of our resources to eliminate inequity.