By Jeanne Mahoney
Senior Director, AIM Program, and Senior Director – Providers’ Partnership, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

An exciting initiative is moving forward to empower every state, perinatal quality collaborative, hospital network/system, birth facility and maternity care provider to save women from mortality and preventable severe complications during pregnancy, labor and delivery.

The U.S. the Maternal and Child Health Bureau shared an update on this national campaign – the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM – Maternal Health) – in a previous issue of Pulse. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is leading the way – in partnership with numerous national and state leaders including AMCHP – to work with states and health systems to implement maternal safety bundles through data-driven quality improvement. In collaboration with the Council on Patient Safety in Women’s Health Care, AIM – Maternal Health has developed bundles to address hemorrhage, hypertension in pregnancy, prevention of maternal venous thromboembolism and support of vaginal births.

The AIM – Maternal Health team is also excited to share a new bundle in the development stage: Reduction of Peripartum Racial Disparities. This bundle is unique, because it is does not focus on a specific outcome or direct cause of maternal mortality and morbidity; rather, it concentrates on addressing health equity across the care continuum and opportunities presented during care processes to close disparities in maternal health outcomes. This work group is led by Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP, from the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and William Grobman, MD, MBA, from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. It includes representative membership from the American Association of Family Practitioners, American College of Nurse Midwives, Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses, Society for Obstetric Anesthesia and Perinatology, Society for Maternal/Fetal Medicine and AMCHP.

This exciting bundle will focus on strategies that include establishing systems to accurately document patients’ self-identified race, ethnicity and preferred language; using patient-centered strategies; ensuring staff education on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes, shared decision-making and implicit bias; and building a culture of equity at the facility-level to complement a culture of safety. Strategies will map back to the "four R’s" – Readiness, Recognition, Response and Reporting and Systems Learning – utilized by all the existing bundles. The workgroup will refine the bundle and its supporting resources throughout the summer, with the hopes of publishing the bundle on the council’s website by fall 2016. AMCHP is excited to partner with the AIM – Maternal Health project to assist its members and partners in the bundle’s implementation and to embed it within overall strategies to reduce disparities in women’s and infant health. For more information, view the slide deck presented at the 2016 ACOG-CDC Maternal Safety and Maternal Mortality meeting or contact Jeanne Mahoney at jmahoney@acog.org.