The AAMC Center for Health Justice hosted the inaugural Maternal Health Incubator on May 24-25 — a virtual convening of diverse collaborators “to generate a common understanding of the data needed to effectively address maternal health inequities.”
The two-day convening featured several guest panels and speakers, with the first day focusing on the current landscape of maternal health data. Zsakeba Henderson, MD, FACOG, senior vice president of Maternal and Child Health Impact and interim chief medical and health officer at the March of Dimes, delivered the keynote address, followed by a fireside chat on patient perspectives led by Joia Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative.
The day continued with a panel discussion led by Veronica Gillispie-Bell, MD, an OB-GYN at Oschner Health and medical director at the Louisiana Perinatal Quality Collaborative, that highlighted several examples of evidence-based, multisector strategies to close racial and ethnic maternal health inequities. The panel featured speakers from the federal government including Rear Adm. Wanda Barfield, MD, MPH, director of the Division of Reproductive Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Kristen Zycherman, RN, BSN, Maternal and Infant Health Initiative lead and maternal and infant health subject matter expert in the Division of Quality and Health Outcomes at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Day one concluded with a presentation of new data from the AAMC Center for Health Justice that surveyed birthing peoples’ experiences.
The second day was focused on how to take action and included a policy panel that was opened with remarks by Rep. Sharice Davids (D-Kan.), who highlighted congressional efforts to address maternal health inequities and, in particular, her legislation the Data to Save Moms Act (H.R. 925) part of the AAMC-supported Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act (H.R. 959) [refer to Washington Highlights, Feb. 12, 2021]. The panel featured Anushay Hossain, author of The Pain Gap, Kanika Harris, PhD, MPH, director of Maternal and Child Health at Black Women’s Health Imperative, and Terri Wright, PhD, MPH, health and racial equity strategist and public health scientist. The session was moderated by Ally Perleoni, Manager, Government Relations, at the AAMC.
Attendees concluded the convening in smaller break-out sessions to discuss next steps in building a multisector agenda for health equity.