Virginia’s top health officials are traveling the state to gather input on eliminating racial disparity in the maternal mortality rate, but do not plan to stop in Roanoke.

The governor’s office released the list of listening sessions last week that skips the Roanoke and New River valleys, the core population area of the western half of the state.

A spokeswoman said more sessions might be added later, but “the Virginia Council on Women held a Maternal Health Summit in Roanoke at the end of July with many of the relevant groups and stakeholders.”

Gov. Ralph Northam in February said after a racist photo from his medical school yearbook page came to light that he planned to work on racial reconciliation, and that one effort would be to take action on the issue of higher rates of infant and maternal mortality in African Americans.

In June, he announced a goal to eliminate racial disparity in maternal mortality by 2025.

To develop the plan, the office of the secretary of Health and Human Resources is holding a series meetings to bring together community organizations, local health care providers, hospital systems and elected officials, and to hear from woman wanting to share their experiences.

Meetings have taken place in Hampton, Annandale and Lynchburg.

Others are scheduled for Oct. 7 in Petersburg, Oct. 8 in Woodbridge, Oct. 9 in Portsmouth, Oct. 17 in Danville, Oct. 23 in Abingdon, Oct. 28 in Richmond and Oct. 29 in Wincester.

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