Dr. Karen A. Scott, MD, MPH, FACOG (she/her), stands as the Chief Black Feminist Physician Scientist, Founder and Owner of Birthing Cultural Rigor®, LLC, boasting a remarkable legacy spanning over 25 years. Her journey as an improvement and implementation scientist, activist, teacher, and mentor operationalizes Black feminism, reproductive justice, and research justice as an intersectional vision, praxis, framework, and movement she defined in 2020 as Cultural Rigor.  

Her ethics, scholarship, activism, and advocacy grounded in and shaped by all four modalities of cultural rigor, giving herself permission to optimally affirm, activate, and amplify her talents, wisdom, lived experiences and expertise at the intersection of cultural humility and scientific rigor. Dr. Scott's unwavering commitment unveils a critical exploration of health services design, provision, financing, evaluation, and training in obstetric units as arenas perpetuating obstetric racism against the humanity, bodies, and lives of Black women, girls, and gender expansive individuals in the afterlife of slavery, particularly after the passage of the Congressional Act of 1807 (which took effect in 1808, prohibiting further participation of the United States in the slave trade.).    

In the tumultuous landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Dr. Scott developed, initiated, and led the SACRED Birth national study, unveiling a novel survey instrument examining Black women’s experiences of care during hospitalization for labor, birth, and immediate postpartum through six theorized patient informed quality domain: Safety & Accountability, Autonomy & Kinship, Communication & Information exchange, Racism, Empathy & humanity, and Dignity in Blackness & holistic care. This groundbreaking endeavor activated and amplified the power of over 1100 Black women and gender expansive individuals across 348 hospitals, transcending 34 states and Washington, DC and translating Black birth stories into valid scores (or indicators) of quality and patient safety and strategies of justice and accountability. The resultant Patient Reported Experience Measure of Obstetric racism©, or the PREM-OB Scale™ suite, emerges as the first and only valid embodiment of the four modalities of cultural rigor in hospital-based quality and patient safety improvement and implementation initiatives.

From 2021 to 2022, Dr. Scott propelled her impact further, introducing the first two capacity development programs across San Francisco County, California and Boston, Massachusetts. These initiatives propelled the implementation, spread, and scale of the PREM-OB® Scale Suite and other innovative tools, training, and techniques. As she relocated to her birthplace in Nashville, TN, at the end of 2021, Dr. Scott continued her activism and scholarship throughout the South and Midwest.

In 2022, the Black Mamas Matter Alliance acknowledged her as an unsung hero in public health, bestowing the Inaugural Jackson, Rowley, and Hogan Excellence in Black Maternal Health Scholarship, in honor of the foremothers of Black Maternal Health scholarship and practice. Presently, she steers the ship as the developer and principal investigator of a pioneering community-led multi-state program combatting obstetric racism during childbirth hospitalization and up to one year postpartum called The CATCH Pilot, Community-led Accountability and Transformation in Care experiences and Hospital culture. She also proudly serves on the Institutional Review Board Committee for Interfaith Voices for Reproductive Justice.