March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, and longtime partner, Anthem Foundation, are working together to tackle America’s maternal and infant health crisis. As both organizations continue to address health inequity across the country, the partnership in Kentucky aims to address the racial disparities and social determinants of health that have disproportionately impacted Black mothers.
The Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA) recently reported that racial and ethnic health disparities in the U.S. have worsened over the past two decades. In order to achieve the Healthy People 2030 goals for Pregnancy and Childbirth, maternity care systems need to address disparities that threaten maternal and infant health. Researchers have identified implicit bias among health care providers as a potential contributor to these disparities. In response to these findings, March of Dimes developed Breaking Through Implicit Bias in Maternal Healthcare training, in collaboration with Quality Interactions, to improve patient-provider communications and treatment decisions, contributing to improved quality of care at a critical intervention point.
The course provides an overview of implicit bias, its impact on the maternal infant health crisis, the history of structural racism in the United States, and strategies for providers to both mitigate racial bias in maternity care and commit to a culture of equity. The American Hospital Association recognizes the value of this important training program and the potential benefits of its use by health care providers across the country to better identify and remedy implicit bias. The University of Louisville Hospital has been selected as a local health equity partner to implement this important work. Health care organizations interested in partnering in the program, visit marchofdimes.org/professionals/professional-education.aspx.
“The U.S. is in the midst of a maternal and infant health crisis, which is particularly devastating to women and babies of color. Data shows the U.S. remains among the most dangerous developed nations in the world for childbirth,” said Dr. Rahul Gupta, Chief Medical and Health Officer, Senior Vice President and Interim Chief Scientific Officer at March of Dimes. “Roughly every 12 hours, a woman dies from pregnancy-related causes, and the CDC reports that 60% are preventable. Programs like these, supported by the Anthem Foundation, are invaluable in making a positive impact for moms and babies.”
Over the past decade, Anthem Foundation and their parent company’s foundation have contributed close to $8 million to support March of Dimes programs aimed at reducing premature birth that have reached more than 50,000 pregnant women across the country. These programs have had a significant impact with only 7.3% of participants in group prenatal care delivering prematurely, compared to a national average of 10%.
“As a leader in supporting women’s health, Anthem is committed to improving maternal and infant health outcomes in Kentucky,” said Leon Lamoreaux, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid President in Kentucky. “The Anthem Foundation continues to address health inequities in our healthcare system by providing solutions that help close gaps in care, better support our members and improve outcomes.”
The grant also supports programs for moms and babies, such as Supportive Pregnancy Care, to help women receive their clinical care, share support with other women at a similar stage in pregnancy, and gain knowledge related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.