On Dec. 6, the AAMC participated in the White House Maternal Health Day of Action that was led by Vice President Kamala Harris. The day of action included panel discussions featuring elected officials, celebrities, and birthing persons; commitments from stakeholder groups to engage in activities to improve maternal health; and announcements regarding the Biden-Harris administration’s efforts to end the maternal health crisis.
Harris opened the day of action by emphasizing health disparities and system inequities as primary drivers of the high rates of maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States. “We must do everything we can to protect and to strengthen both maternal health and reproductive health,” she stated.
As part of the day of action, the White House featured an announcement by the AAMC Center for Health Justice about a Maternal Health Incubator on May 24-25, 2022. This two-day virtual convening will focus on better understanding the data needed to effectively address maternal health inequities. The participants will work to develop an action plan focused on local, state, and federal policies and collaborations that can eliminate existing inequities.
The White House also aired a video featuring AAMC Senior Director of Equity and Social Accountability Malika Fair, MD, MPH, describing her personal experiences and the Center for Health Justice’s work to address maternal health inequities. “These are real issues. And we have a real maternal health crisis in our nation,” she stated in the video.
Throughout the day of action, the Biden-Harris administration emphasized the importance of the maternal health provisions in the Build Back Better Act (H.R. 5376) and urged participants to advocate for passage of the legislation [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 5]. The administration also announced two initiatives at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — one to encourage states to expand postpartum Medicaid coverage up to 12 months by releasing new guidance and another that will create a new designation on the quality of maternal health services at hospitals.
White House Domestic Policy Advisor Ambassador Susan Rice closed the summit by emphasizing the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to “ensuring better and more equitable maternal health.” She also noted, “Let’s all leave here more determined than ever to ensure that everyone giving birth in this country — no matter their race or any other factor — receives the dignity and care they deserve.”