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News & Announcements

July 12, 2023: DPH Data Brief: An Assessment of Severe Maternal Morbidity in Massachusetts: 2011-2020

Read the data brief HERE & check out related publications below!

Boston Globe: Severe maternal complications in Massachusetts nearly doubled over past decade, DPH report finds

Boston Herald: Dangerous pregnancy outcomes doubled in Mass. over the last decade, DPH says

Patch: Severe Maternity Morbidity In MA Nearly Doubled In A Decade, Data Says

WBUR: Dangerous complications are increasing for pregnant patients in Mass., report finds

SHNS: Severe Maternal Morbidity Rate Nearly Doubled In Mass. (WWLP)

WCVB: Severe maternal morbidity rates in Massachusetts nearly double in last 10 years, study shows

AP: Severe maternal health complications nearly doubled in Massachusetts from 2011 to 2020 (Washington TimesCaledonian RecordKilleen Daily Herald)

KFF Health News: Report Found Soaring Maternal Health Complications In Massachusetts

Public News Service: Report Shows Steep Decline in MA Maternal Health

Axios: Massachusetts' maternal mortality rate is rising

WGBH: Severe complications during childbirth nearly doubled over a decade in Massachusetts

Boston Globe Editorial (7/23/23): To save mothers’ lives, reduce racism in obstetrical care

July 15, 2023: ACOG Foundation 2023 Request for Grant Proposals 

The ACOG Foundation will offer up to $250,000 in grant funding for 2023 and is requesting proposals for projects that address the following topics:

·       Reduce preventable maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity

·       Transform the culture of the obstetrics and gynecology profession to combat racism and reduce inequities

·       Increase data-driven understanding of obstetrician–gynecologists and their current needs

The ACOG Foundation will give strong preference to submissions from ACOG Districts and Sections. The deadline for submissions is August 15. Grants may range from $10,000 to $50,000​. The grant award period extends from January 1, 2024, to December 31, 2024.

Any questions should be directed to the Senior Director of Philanthropy, Kendra Davis at

Read more HERE

March 24, 2023: NICHQ Discusses How Doula Support Improves Maternal and Child Health Outcomes

To kick-off World Doula Week (March 22-28), NICHQ sat down with LaToshia Rouse, CD/PCD(DONA), owner of Birth Sisters Doula Services to discuss the health benefits of doulas. Excerpt: "Studies examining the impact of continuous support by doulas report significant reductions in cesarean births, instrumental vaginal births, need for oxytocin augmentation, and shortened durations of labor. Additionally, doula-assisted mothers were four times less likely to have a low birth weight (LBW) baby, two times less likely to experience a birth complication involving themselves or their baby, and significantly more likely to initiate breastfeeding." 

Read the full article HERE


March 16, 2023: CDC Releases Updated 2021 Maternal Mortality Rates   

The latest data on maternal mortality rates in the US show an increase to 32.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, compared with a rate of 23.8 in 2020 and 20.1 in 2019. "The maternal mortality rate for non-Hispanic Black (subsequently, Black) women was 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births, 2.6 times the rate for non-Hispanic White (subsequently, White) women (26.6). Rates for Black women were significantly higher than rates for White and Hispanic women. The increases from 2020 to 2021 for all race and Hispanic-origin groups were significant." See below for the full CDC report, news articles, and a research article discussing this new data.

Read the CDC report  HERE

Read the Green Journal paper Changes in Pregnancy-Related Mortality Associated With the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic in the United States HERE

Read the New York Times article Covid Worsened a Maternal Mortality Crisis in the U.S. HERE

Read the Wall Street Journal article U.S. Maternal Mortality Hits Highest Level Since 1965  HERE

February 23, 2023: Betsy Lehman Center Announces the BLC- PNQIN- TeamBirth Partnership for the Maternal Equity Bundle

Excerpt: "Audra Meadows, M.D., M.P.H., Lead for PNQIN’s Maternal Equity Bundle, says, 'It’s exciting to have this work moving forward across Massachusetts. Our ultimate goal is to support birth hospital teams in ensuring perinatal quality and excellence for all, which means we need to look at outcomes for sub-populations by race, ethnicity, language, etc., to support their needs for an optimal birth experience and outcome.'"

Read the full press release HERE!


January 19, 2023: Department of Public Health Announces First Cases of Concerning Gonorrhea Strain

Excerpt: "The Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced it has detected a novel strain of gonorrhea in a Massachusetts resident that showed reduced response to multiple antibiotics and another case with genetic markers that indicate a similar drug response. This is the first time that resistance or reduced response to five classes of antibiotics has been identified in gonorrhea in the United States.

Both cases in Massachusetts were successfully cured with ceftriaxone, the antibiotic currently recommended to treat gonorrhea." 


Read the full press release HERE!

December 20, 2022: PLoS ONE publishes Trends and inequities in severe maternal morbidity in Massachusetts

Multiple PNQIN leaders along with partners at the Betsy Lehman Center found that while severe maternal morbidity increased across all racial/ethnic groups from 1998-2018, Black birthing people saw the greatest absolute risk increase by 2.5x. "In addition, [they] found that Black birthing people had higher rates for every individual condition compared to White birthing people...[and that] Obesity was not significantly associated with SMM among Black birthing people but was associated with SMM among White birthing people."


Read the full research paper HERE!

December, 2022: BMC releases a video celebrating their 1st Anniversary of their Health Equity Accelerator

Excerpt: "After more than a year of investigating the racial health disparities across our organization, we launched our Health Equity Accelerator, a radical system-wide transformation to improve health outcomes for our Black and Latino/a patients. Hear from co-executive directors Thea James, MD, and Elena Mendez-Escobar, PhD, MBA on lessons learned and what’s next" in the video.


Learn more about the program HERE!

Fall 2022: NNPQC releases a video highlighting 13 CDC funded PQCs, including PNQIN 

The "Nationwide Efforts to Improve Birthing Outcomes" video that captures the work and accomplishments of the 13 PQCs funded by CDC from 2017-2022 and highlights the importance of the National Network of Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (NNPQC).

Watch the video HERE

Read the Project Impact Statement HERE

February 10th, 2022: NEJM publishes perspective on racial biology and medical misconceptions

Excerpt: "In 2016, Hoffman et al. documented ongoing racial misconceptions held by medical students and residents. The authors showed a series of statements concerning biologic differences between groups described as “Blacks” and “Whites”... A closer reading of the article, however, reveals the true depth of the challenge: throughout the introduction and discussion, the terms “Black” and “White” are used as if they referred to true biologic entities, not the socially defined groups these terms actually identify.


Therein lies the largest racial misconception still operative in the medical community: socially defined races continue to be viewed as if they are accurate reflections of biologic variation within our species."

Click HERE to read more!


January 17th, 2022: A comprehensive report on Racism and Racial Inequities in Health for Massachusetts released

In December 2021, Blue Cross Blue Shield created a report titled "Racism and Racial Inequities in Health: A Data-Informed Primer on Health Disparities in Massachusetts". We are pleased to share the PDF with you here and an excerpt from the Executive Summary below:

"This primer was developed to serve as a foundational resource to broaden the collective understanding of racial and ethnic health inequities and disparities in the Commonwealth. It presents a data-informed reflection of the racial and ethnic health inequities and disparities Massachusetts residents confront today. The information given here is imperfect and incomplete, because the state and federal data resources available for exploring health inequities and disparities are imperfect and incomplete."

October 31st, 2021: Pregnancy-Associated Overdose Deaths: MMRIA Data from 6 RMOR States

This review by the Rapid Maternal Overdose Review Initiative found that 89% of 107 overdose deaths during or within one year of pregnancy were potentially preventable. Read the full document here

August 11th, 2021: CDC publishes new analysis of mRNA COVID-19 vaccine 

This analysis, titled Receipt of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines preconception and during pregnancy and risk of self-reported spontaneous abortions, CDC v-safe COVID-19 Vaccine Pregnancy Registry 2020-21, shows that the cumulative risk of miscarriage after receiving an mRNA COVID-19 vaccine was similar to previously published estimates. 

The CDC recommends COVID-10 vaccination for all people 12 years and older, including people who are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to become pregnant now or might become pregnant in the future. 


May 25th, 2021: Please check your hospital websites for incorrect EI information

It was brought to PNQIN's attention this week that one of our partner hospital's had incorrect information on their website regarding Early Intervention. The information referenced the family fee that has not been a part of EI for the last several years. We encourage you to review the EI content on your website and reach out to your IT department to update information or correct any errors. 

Alternatively, we welcome hospitals to link to the webpage on EI (below), which is continuously updated, or to use language from on your hospital site: About Massachusetts Early Intervention (EI)


May 16th, 2021: Meadows: It’s time to address racial inequities in childbirth

Our PNQIN Co-Chair, Dr. Audra Meadows, wrote an opinion piece in the Boston Herald last week expressing her hope that Boston's new mayor, Kim Janey, will usher in an era of new idea and inspiration for the city's Black birthing people and families. In addition to being our Co-Chair, Dr. Meadows is a medical and health equity consultant and formerly the medical director of Ambulatory Obstetrics at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Click here to continue reading her piece! 

April 24th, 2021: CDC Recommends COVID-19 Vaccine for Pregnant and Breastfeeding People

CBS News, National Public Radio, and several other major news sources report that the CDC now advises pregnant people to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. In a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the CDC evaluated data from over 35,000 pregnant people who received the mRNA vaccines, and found no obvious safety concerns.

The CDC's vaccine considerations for pregnant and breastfeeding people can be found HERE.

April 22nd, 2021: Exclusive: 'Dear Black Women,' A Letter From Vice President Kamala Harris On Maternal Health

PNQIN shares this letter from Vice President Harris to highlight the current political will behind Maternal Mortality Review Committees and addressing disparities in Black maternal health.

"If you are a Black woman reading this and you are pregnant or you have experienced loss, know that there are groups out there, podcasts to listen to, and books to read. You may never meet these Black women who are replacing silence with storytelling -- —but they are passing on their strength to you and want you to know you are not alone.   


President Biden and I are listening, and we will keep fighting..." 

March 19th, 2021: Analysis of Federal Bills to Strengthen Maternal Health Care

A number of bills focusing on maternal health were introduced in the Congress in the 2019-2020 session. These pending bills address a number of related maternity care issues, including extending Medicaid postpartum coverage from 60 days to one year, funding for clinical training on health equity and implicit bias, developing broader networks of maternity care providers in rural areas, and research on the potential benefits of Medicaid coverage for doula care.


This page, originally published in December 2020, contains summaries of several bills on maternal health currently pending in Congress.

March 19th, 2021: AMA: Racism is a threat to public health

Originally published in November 2020, this article builds on AMA's June 2020 pledge to confront systemic racism and police brutality and to explicitly recognize racism as a public health threat and detail a plan to mitigate its effects.

March 19th, 2021: Brief History of Racism in Obstetrics and Gynecology

This article, published by NPR in April 2018, reported that a statue of the "Father of Gynecology", who experimented on enslaved people, was removed from its pedestal in New York City. Multiple groups demanded the removal of the statue, which sat on a pedestal praising his achievements as "brilliant" without acknowledging the women who endured his painful experiments.

March 19th, 2021: "Race Isn’t a Risk Factor in Maternal Health. Racism Is."

By Dr. Joia Crear-Perry, founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative


Dr. Crear-Perry writes in her commentary piece for Rewire News Group: "The language of the moment suggests that it's Blackness that's the problem, not bias... We—in health, advocacy, and media—need to stop saying and teaching that being Black is a risk factor for illness and death. Instead, we need to start telling the truth: It’s exposure to racism that is the risk factor." Commentary originally published in April 2018.

February 11th, 2021: PNQIN Stigma, Bias & Trauma-Informed Care Online Training is now LIVE!

PNQIN is thrilled to announce that the online version of our stigma, bias, and trauma-informed care training is now available to take on our website for Continuing Education credits!


This training was developed in partnership with the Brigham & Women's Hospital C.A.R.E. Clinic and was offered in 2-hour sessions via Zoom in Summer 2020. Given the many positive responses to the training, we have worked hard to bring your hospital teams an online version that you can take at any time within the next year.


Please visit our Trauma-Informed Care Training page for more information and to register!

February 8th, 2021: APHA endorses reintroduction of Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act

The American Public Health Association (APHA) supports sweeping change to address maternal mortality and protect Black moms. On Feb. 8, APHA joined more than 190 other organizations in endorsing the reintroduction of the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 (S. 346/H.R. 959).


Maternal mortality is an ongoing public health crisis that affects all American women and birthing people, but the situation is especially dire for Black women and other women of color; research shows that Black, Native American and Hispanic moms all face much higher rates of maternal mortality than white moms.


The bill, led by Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., and the Black Maternal Health Caucus, builds on existing progress made in maternal health with provisions that would invest in social determinants of health, grow and support the perinatal workforce, improve data collection and promote maternal vaccination.


January 15th, 2021: Health commission created in Massachusetts to address racial inequities in maternal mortality rates

On January 13th, Governor Charlie Baker signed a bill that established a new state commission that is responsible for identifying steps to address racial inequities in maternal health in the Commonwealth. PNQIN has a seat on this commission. Representative Liz Miranda says the bill “allows us to approach the maternal mortality crisis as both a racial justice and public health issue by seeking to understand both the socioeconomic determinants of health while also tackling the issue of racism head-on.” Read the full article here


December 17th, 2020: COVID-19 Vaccine Guidance for Pregnant Patients

Given recent developments with the COVID-19 vaccine, the MPQC website has been updated with a new page containing guidance for vaccine counseling and administration for pregnant and lactating patient populations. Please click here to visit the page, where you will find materials from ACOG and SMFM and a shared decision-making aid created by a workgroup from Baystate Health and UMass Medical School - Baystate.

December 7th, 2020: DPH Racial Equity Data Road Map is here!

This innovative tool was shared with the PNQIN community during Day 2 of our Fall 2020 Perinatal Opioid Project Summit on November 18th, 2020. From the DPH website: "The Racial Equity Data Road Map is a tool toward eliminating structural racism. It's a collection of guiding questions, tools, and resources to assist programs in taking concrete steps to better identify, understand, and act to address racial inequities."

Click here to download a PDF or DOCX of the road map tool and overview. Feel free to email for additional details or with questions.


November 23rd, 2020: PNQIN Highlighted in NICHQ MA Case Study

PNQIN was mentioned in a recent report from the National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ) entitled: "Massachusetts's Efforts to Reduce Preterm Birth Rates: A Case Study Developed from NICHQ’s Exploring State-Level Strategies to Improve Maternal Health and Birth Outcomes Initiative.


Check out the case study here!

November 23rd, 2020: New Grant to Research Empowering Black Mothers 

PNQIN is proud to partner on a new grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Interdisciplinary Research Leaders program. PNQIN Co-Chair Dr. Audra Meadows, together with Accompany Doula Care Co-founder Christina Gebel and Dr. Ndidiamaka Amutah-Onukagha of Tufts University School of Medicine, will assess how black mothers' awareness of the maternal mortality crisis has influenced their perinatal choices, and what would move them from awareness to empowerment.

Read the full article here!

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