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A Shared Commitment to Black Maternal Health

April 11, 2024

Black Maternal Health Week amplifies the voices of Black mothers and birthing people to advocate for addressing health disparities and improving access to care.

In Pennsylvania and around the U.S., hospitals are focused on addressing inequities in maternal health and opportunities to improve health outcomes. Observed each year from April 11–17, Black Maternal Health Week puts a spotlight on the work ahead to reduce Black maternal mortality.

“Improving health outcomes for Black mothers requires strong collaboration and a shared recognition that the status quo is not acceptable,” HAP President and CEO Nicole Stallings said in a statement. “HAP and Pennsylvania hospitals are committed to advancing high-quality and equitable care for Black mothers, eliminating implicit bias from care, and addressing the health inequities that result from structural racism.”

Last month, the Pennsylvania Black Maternal Health Caucus released its legislative package to improve concerning rates of maternal mortality and morbidity among Black mothers. Next week, lawmakers will consider legislation to expand coverage of home blood pressure monitors for pregnant and postpartum patients and extend Medicaid coverage for doula services.

Per the Health Resources & Services Administration, this week highlights the need to:

  • Increase access to high-quality maternal health services, including behavioral health services.
  • Ensure patients are heard at every point of care.
  • Advance data collection, research, and analysis to identify opportunities for improvement.
  • Expand and diversify the maternal and child health workforce.
  • Strengthen support before, during, and after pregnancy.

Pennsylvania hospitals are leading initiatives to address inequities in care and improve outcomes for Black mothers, such as partnering with doulas to support and advocate for patients, leading research to advance maternal health equity, and using data to inform and assess targeted interventions.

Hospitals across the commonwealth are also engaged with the Pennsylvania Perinatal Quality Collaborative and HAP’s Task Force on Maternal and Child Health. This collaborative work focuses on strategies to address several critical points of maternal care, including maternal opioid use, neonatal abstinence syndrome, sepsis in obstetrical care, and safe sleep.

Additional information about Black Maternal Health Week is available online.