Governor Also Announces Members of Maternal Mortality Review Board
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York is one of 24 states that have been awarded a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to support ongoing work to reduce maternal mortality rates and address racial disparities. The Governor also announced the members of his recently formed NYS Maternal Mortality Review Board, which was created to review the cause of each maternal death in the state and make recommendations to the Department of Health on strategies for preventing future deaths and improving overall health outcomes.
"All women should have access to quality health care especially before, during and after childbirth - and we've enlisted the best and the brightest to continue our important work to help ensure that happens," Governor Cuomo said. "This award will help New York address this national crisis by supporting the efforts of the experts we've enlisted on our Maternal Mortality Review Board."
"Despite the medical advances our nation has seen over the last century, there is still an unconscionable number of black women who die during childbirth, and we are determined to correct this injustice and save the lives of mothers across New York State," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "With this grant from the CDC and our Maternal Mortality Review Board, we are continuing to work on this issue and putting forth bold proposals to address the crisis. We are committed to taking action to end structural racial disparities in our society that all too often lead to tragedy."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $450,000 to the State Department of Health to work in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The funding from the CDC is intended to help sustain the work of the NYS Maternal Mortality Review Board in facilitating an understanding of the drivers of maternal mortality and complications of pregnancy, as well as racial disparities in maternal mortality rates. The MMRB will recommend to the Commissioner clinical and community interventions to improve outcomes for families and communities.
New York State Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said, "The Maternal Mortality Review Board will guide New York State in addressing these tragic events by bringing together experts in the field tasked with analyzing all maternal deaths. Through CDC support and collaboration with experts we can address this issue and implement strategies that save lives."
MMRB members include multidisciplinary experts in the fields of public health, obstetrics and gynecology, anesthesia, maternal-fetal medicine, family medicine, psychiatry, nursing, midwifery, social work and forensic pathology. The members, who began meeting in August, will continue to meet regularly to review all cases of maternal death in New York State.
The United States has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world - and racial disparities continue to persist, as black women are nationally almost four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women, and three times more likely in New York. While New York State has made improvements in reducing maternal mortality rates since 2010 when it was ranked 46th in the nation, the state still ranks 30th in the nation.
The MMRB builds on the recommendations of the Governor's Council on Women and Girls and the Taskforce on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes. In the budget passed earlier this year, the State allocated $8 million over a two-year period to support the taskforce's recommendations, including the MMRB and Maternal Mortality Advisory Council, as well as more than $2 million through the Department of Health's Maternal Infant Community Health Collaboratives initiative to be used to increase access to community health workers in high risk areas statewide. The work of the MMRB and the taskforce, along with several other initiatives, builds on the Governor's work to combat maternal mortality and reduce racially disparate outcomes.