New York Maternal Mortality Summit to Produce Policy & Practice Recommendations

New York (February 13, 2018) - On February 14, 2018, the 2018 New York Maternal Mortality Summit will bring together health care, advocacy, and public health practitioners and organizations to discuss recommendations for policy and practice changes to reduce maternal mortality in New York State. The summit will spotlight ongoing efforts and explore new strategies to address New York's persistently high maternal mortality rates, which include significant racial disparities.

This free event will take place from 10:00AM-4:30PM at The New York Academy of Medicine, 1216 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10029. The summit is funded by Merck & Co., Inc. to advance the goals of Merck for Mothers, and is a project created by a partnership of The New York Academy of Medicine, the New York State Department of Health, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the Healthcare Association of New York State, the Greater New York Hospital Association, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), District II.

Focus areas for the summit include fragmentation in women's health care; maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity case reviews; hospital clinical practice reforms; the ways in which structural racism contributes to health disparities in maternal mortality; and how to integrate enhanced maternal health advocacy, education, and care coordination into existing community-based (non-clinical) service structures.

The morning keynote speakers are Joia Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative, and William Callaghan, MD, MPH, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Other speakers and panelists include representatives from the New York State Department of Health and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene; OB-GYN professionals; New York-based doula; the executive director of the Preeclampsia Foundation; and representatives from New York hospitals and community-based organizations.

"The Academy has long been committed to addressing maternal mortality and, more broadly, to eliminating health disparities in New York and beyond. We are pleased to host the New York 2018 Maternal Mortality Summit during Black History Month, as we convene health experts to address this health crisis that currently, and historically, has affected black mothers in New York at an unacceptably high rate," said Judith A. Salerno, MD, MS, President of The New York Academy of Medicine. 

"This landmark summit will bring together experts across disciplines, working in the hospital and in the community, to examine maternal mortality from many angles and emerge with concrete recommendations for policy and practice changes to reduce maternal mortality in New York State," said Peter Schafer, Director of the Center for Health Policy and Programs at The New York Academy of Medicine. 

"New York State has made great strides in reducing infant and maternal deaths, but much more needs to be done. Although maternal mortality has decreased over time, New York remains in the bottom third of states for the number of women dying. Far too many women are losing their lives due to pregnancy and we are seeing black women dying at a rate of 3.5 times more than white women. This disparity cannot continue. No matter who or where they are, all New York women should have access to quality care and support before, during, and after pregnancy," said Howard A. Zucker, MD, JD, New York State Commissioner of Health.

"We are excited to join The New York Academy of Medicine's Maternal Mortality Summit to engage with our partners in a multisector effort to reduce the glaring racial and ethnic disparities in pregnancy-related deaths and severe complications," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. "Addressing these disparities in maternal health outcomes demands that we recognize the impact of structural racism and gender oppression on the health of Black and Latinx mothers and advance birth equity in tackling the root causes of inequities in our work. New York City is committed to tackling the unacceptable inequities holistically by providing extra resources and giving priority to neighborhoods facing the greatest health, economic and social challenges to improve health before, during and after pregnancy. We are also working with community, hospital and public health partners to support improvements in the quality of care in maternity facilities across the city and to assure that all families receive respectful and safe maternity care." 

"Hospitals and healthcare providers have made significant progress in preventing maternal morbidity and mortality. Events like this are an excellent opportunity for our members to share best practices and strengthen their commitment to the fight," said Loretta B. Willis, RN, BSN, CCM, CPHQ, Vice President, Quality Advocacy, Research & Innovation, Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS).

"Greater New York Hospital Association is proud to participate in the Maternal Mortality Summit and support the dedicated clinicians and staff from our member hospitals, ACOG, and State and City agencies as they strive to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality across New York," said GNYHA Senior Vice President Lorraine Ryan. "GNYHA is committed to working with our hospitals to ensure that all pregnant women and their newborns receive the highest quality of care."  

"ACOG District II's long standing history of working to reduce maternal mortality through our Safe Motherhood Initiative has helped to pave the way for sustainable change in hospitals across New York State," said Iffath Abbasi Hoskins, MD, Chair of ACOG District II's Advisory Council. "We are pleased to partner with the Academy and other key partners in this summit to discuss new strategies to address this public health crisis."
"I'm honored to share our progress in implementing standardized protocols to prevent maternal death and severe morbidity in 117 hospitals across the state," said Mary D'Alton, MD, Co-Chair of the ACOG District II Safe Motherhood Initiative and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. "Although much has been accomplished, there is much more to do, especially to reduce the stark racial and ethnic disparities that persist. This summit is an opportunity to further advance our collective efforts so that no woman, family, or community experiences a preventable maternal death."

Members of the media are invited to RSVP by February 13 to Gina Ravosa at [email protected] or (212) 822-7285. The plenary sessions will also be broadcast live via webcast.

About The New York Academy of Medicine
The New York Academy of Medicine advances solutions that promote the health and well-being of people in cities worldwide.

Established in 1847, The New York Academy of Medicine continues to address the health challenges facing New York City and the world's rapidly growing urban populations. We accomplish this through our Institute for Urban Health, home of interdisciplinary research, evaluation, policy and program initiatives; our world class historical medical library and its public programming in history, the humanities, and the arts; and our Fellows program, a network of more than 2,000 experts elected by their peers from across the professions affecting health. Our current priorities are healthy aging, disease prevention, and eliminating health disparities.