Attendees of the MACo Summer Conference session, “Women and Children are Dying. What are We Doing About It?,” learned how experts from across the state are tracking and working to stem the disturbing uptick of maternal and infant deaths.
Chairman of the Community Health Resources Commission (CHRC), Allan Anderson, discussed the grants CHRC provides to organizations who provide women’s health programs such as those that tackle issues associated with maternal and infant health deaths and disparities. He showcased Calvert County’s “Healthy Beginnings” program as one that has received CHRC grant funding and generated positive outcomes.
Megan Renfrew from the Maryland Health Care Commission presented eye-opening data on maternal and infant death disparities. She shared that the 2013-2017 infant mortality rate for Black non-Hispanic infants was 2.5 times the rate for White non-Hispanic infants and that the 2014-2016 pregnancy-related mortality rate for Black mothers was 5.7 times higher than the rate for white mothers. She also discussed preliminary results of the study the General Assembly tasked the Maryland Health Care Commission to conduct a study of disparities in infant mortality for African American infants and infants in rural communities.
Cathy Costa from the Baltimore City Health Department presented on the B’More for Healthy Babies program. She discussed how in Baltimore City racial disparities in mortality and health outcomes can be traced to discriminatory redlining policies. She noted the programs four pillars to improve health before pregnancy, ensure quality care during pregnancy, support families to raise healthy babies, and to promote social and economic justice. Costa stressed how the program strives to undo structural racism at every level.
Harford County Health Officer Russell Moy presented on the county’s approach for addressing the needs of at-risk pregnant women and their newborns. Specifically, he discussed “Healthy Families” a voluntary home visiting program and “MEGAN’s Place” a trusted, safe, non-judgmental physical place for at-risk pregnant, postpartum women and their families to meet in Harford County.
The panel was moderated by Delegate Debra Davis and held on Thursday, August 15, 2019.
Save the dates:
- MACo Winter Conference – December 4-6, 2019 (theme and registration details coming soon!)
- MACo Summer Conference – August 19-22, 2020