April 20, 2020
Albany, NY

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and New York State Council on Women & Girls Launch COVID-19 Maternity Task Force

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and New York State Council on Women & Girls Launch COVID-19 Maternity Task Force

Task Force to Develop Plan for New York State to Authorize & Certify Additional Birth Centers to Provide Mothers a Safe Alternative to Already Stressed Hospitals

Recommendations Will Be Ready for Governor Cuomo by End of Week

Will Also Review Impact of COVID-19 on Pregnancy

Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa and the New York State Council on Women and Girls today announced the creation of a COVID-19 maternity task force to examine the best approach to authorizing and certifying additional dedicated birthing centers in an effort to provide mothers a safe alternative to already stressed hospitals amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The task force will make recommendations to Governor Cuomo by the end of the week.

Additionally, the task force will work with Regional Perinatal Centers to review literature and make recommendations on the impact of COVID-19 on pregnancy.

"This pandemic strained our hospital system in a way no one could have ever imagined, and while New York leads in ensuring laboring mothers were able to have a healthy partner, friend or family member with them during childbirth we can and should explore additional ways to make the experience less stressful," Melissa DeRosa, Secretary to the Governor and Chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls, said. "Birth centers can serve as a safe alternative for low-risk pregnancies — relieving the strain on hospitals and providing a supportive environment for mothers during an already stressful time. I look forward to working with Christy and this diverse task force to develop recommendations for the Governor to review as quickly as possible."

"Governor Cuomo and New York State have been national leaders in the fight against COVID-19 and the fact that they are prioritizing the health and safety of women and families during this crisis only further underscores that," said Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts. "I'm honored to be working with Melissa and the other members of this task force to urgently protect mothers and ensure women have much-needed safe birthing options."

The task force - chaired by Melissa DeRosa - will be comprised of stakeholders from obstetrical providers, pediatric care providers and family planning agencies in conjunction with the State Department of Health. The list of members is available below:

  • Christy Turlington Burns, founder of Every Mother Counts
  • Christa Christakis, MPP - Executive Director, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists District II
  • Sascha James-Conterelli, DNP, RN, CNM, FACNM - President, NYSAssociation of Licensed Midwives
  • Loretta Willis, Vice President Quality & Research, Healthcare Association ofNYS
  • Lorraine Ryan, Sr. VP Legal Regulatory & Professional Affairs Greater NY Hospital Association
  • Rose Duhan, President & CEO, Community Health Care Association of NYS
  • Ngozi Moses, Executive Director Brooklyn Perinatal Network
  • Nan Strauss - Every Mother Counts
  • Dr. Deborah E. Campbell, MD - Montefiore Medical Center
  • Whitney Hall, CCE, LM, CLC – President, NYS Association of Birth Centers
  • Natasha Nurse-Clarke, PhD, RN - Regional Perinatal Center Coordinator, Maimonides
  • Dr. Dena Goffman, MD - NYP/Columbia
  • Rev. Diann Holt - Founder/Executive Director Durham's Baby Café
  • Cynthia Jones, MD, MPH - Mosaic Health Center

The task force will maintain an ad-hoc status throughout the COVID-19 state of emergency to address any additional issues related to COVID-19 during pregnancy through postpartum period.


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