US programme to combat disparities for Black pregnant women awarded $9.9 million

on 16 August 2021

Researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and Melanated Group Midwifery Care (MGMC) have been awarded $9.9 million in funding for a programme that aims to combat disparities in maternity care for Black pregnant women.

The funding has been granted by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute which is a not-for-profit organisation created by Congress in 2010 to fund research that supports patients and healthcare professionals with evidence-based information to help them make informed choices.

The programme is part of a study that will compare usual maternity care received by most people to a new care model that combines strategies to improve Black people’s experiences and outcomes during pregnancy and postpartum.

The strategies are:

  • Black pregnant women receiving prenatal care from Black midwives
  • Prenatal care is provides in a group of eight to ten other Black pregnant women with similar due dates
  • Maintaining connections in the health system and community resources through a care coordinator who is a Black licenced nurse (nurse-midwife)
  • Following childbirth, women will be supported in their homes by a postpartum doula, who is Black, for up to a year.

UIC assistant professor of human development nursing science and co-principal investigator, Kylea Liese, said: “No single intervention has been shown to move the bar on maternal morbidity and mortality, especially for Black pregnant people. We need to change the whole paradigm, beginning with centering[sic] the needs and expertise of Black mothers.”

Black women are four times as likely to die from complications related to pregnancy or birth, compared with white women, with two-thirds of those deaths being preventable.

UIC adjunct faculty member and the study’s lead co-investigator, Karie Stewart, said: “We know the racial concordant care model is successful in all ethnicities, yet there is a lack of melanated midwives. We hope this study will highlight the importance of color[sic] and advocating for diversity.”

Researchers plan to enrol 432 women in their first trimester of pregnancy. Participating women will complete a survey about their maternity care experience and the research team will review their medical records for data about health outcomes.

Source: UIC Today