Feinstein Institutes task force calls for funding, programs to combat high maternal mortality rates

Feinstein Institutes task force calls for funding, programs to combat high maternal mortality rates
Feinstein Institute Director Karina Davidson led a team of experts to evaluate maternal mortality data in order to recommend solutions to combat high death rates and disparities. (Photo courtesy of The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research at Northwell Health)

A task force from Northwell Health’s The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research’s Institute of Health System Science has recommended a series of initiatives to bolster maternal health and combat high maternal mortality rates through new goals, funding and new interventional programs nationwide.

​​“Losing a parent during childbirth has staggering life-long effects on families and communities,” Feinstein Institutes Director Karina Davidson said. “New approaches to tackle the root causes of maternal morbidity and mortality rates are needed urgently.”

The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research is the research entity of Northwell Health and includes 50 research labs, 3,000 clinical research studies and 5,000 researchers and staff.

According to the Feinstein Institutes, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate – or deaths due to pregnancy or childbirth – of developed nations globally. They say this disproportionately affects Black women and other minority groups who experience worse maternal health outcomes.

The Feinstein Institutes is calling the current situation a pressing maternal health crisis that is exacerbated by socioeconomic disparities, racial inequalities, violence, trauma and underlying health conditions.

Davidson led a team of scientists and national experts to form a National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention independent task force. Their research was conducted throughout the country to find actionable solutions to combat high maternal mortality rates.

The panel’s goal is to reduce preventable maternal deaths by at least 50%, as well as eliminate racial and ethnic disparities over the next 10 years.

“Research funding targeted to major public health issues is in the best interest of the country,” Kevin J. Tracey, president and CEO of the Feinstein Institutes and Karches Family Distinguished Chair in Medical Research, said. “Dr. Davidson’s participation with the NIH is important for new research and interventions to improve maternal health.”

The task force’s recommendations include the call for a “Maternal Morbidity and Mortality Prevention Moonshot” program. This recommendation includes the setting of new goals to improve maternal health, establishing new interventional programs nationwide and guiding funding.

The panel calls to develop a new multilevel life course research framework intended to increase understanding of societal, community and interpersonal influences on maternal outcomes.

Also recommended are a research study development and data collection that focuses on inclusivity, funding and improving interventional studies intended to improve maternal health outcomes and expand Medicaid coverage to include maternal, newborn and mental health services for up to a year.

“We are confident that the panel’s recommendations will encourage researchers and change-makers nationwide to address and alleviate this crisis,” Davidson said.

The team’s findings and recommendations were announced in a paper titled “Maternal Mortality Is Preventable: A National Institutes of Health Pathways to Prevention Panel Report Transforming the Prevention Paradigm” published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The task force’s research included existing data on maternal morbidity prevalence, prevention strategies and intervention approaches.

The Feinstein Institutes said that this research and subsequent recommendations are crucial in working towards maternal health outcome improvements. They added that the task force is assured that bolstering resources and pushing forward in securing equity will be instrumental in combatting negative maternal health outcomes.

No posts to display


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here