The Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) has been awarded an NIH Administrative Supplement to investigate Maternal Mortality (MM) and Severe Maternal Morbidity (SMM), and the associated health disparities which disproportionately affect the Deep South. This supplement is part of an NIH initiative “to address the scientific priorities that will lay the foundation for the Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE).”

In 2018 in the U.S., the rate of MM (death of pregnant women, or up to one year post-partum) was 17.4, and 50,000 women experienced SMM (conditions predisposing pregnant and post-partum women to life-threatening complications). This funding will be used to fill a gap in research on racial disparities in MM and SMM under the leadership of Monica Baskin, PhD,  Professor in the UAB Division of Preventive Medicine, and a multidisciplinary team that includes Drs. Alan Tita, Rachel Sinkey, and Zoe Julian in the UAB School of Medicine, and Drs. Janet Turan and Martha Wingate in the UAB School of Public Health. According to Baskin, “This award will allow our multidisciplinary team to identify multi-level determinants of racial disparities in maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, including healthcare system distrust, perceived discrimination, and racism. We will also collect data from diverse stakeholders to better understand factors that contribute to optimal maternal outcomes.” The study builds upon previous work examining racial disparities in maternal and infant outcomes, stigma and discrimination during patient-provider interactions, and data collected from the Center for Women’s Reproductive Health (CWRH) and Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It also builds upon the efforts of the National Perinatal Research Consortium, a five-CTSA collaborative with UAB leaders, led by the CCTS and Dr. Alan Tita that assembles state-of-the-art research capacity to support high-quality, multi-site clinical trials and comparative effectiveness outcomes analyses to address major knowledge gaps in maternal-fetal medicine.

This supplement will allow the CWRH Maternal Mortality Working Group to collect critical preliminary data to inform future research and implementation of evidence-based interventions that incorporate community partnerships and systems-based strategies to improve health equity and maternal well being. Baskin shares, “The ultimate goal of our work is to design, implement, and disseminate effective strategies to optimize maternal health for all mothers.”