Rising maternal morbidity and mortality rates and the stark, persistent racial and ethnic disparities among birthing populations are alarming. In 2022, the National Center for Health Statistics reported the maternal mortality rate for 2020 as 23.8 deaths per 100,000 live births. 

Inequities persist as well: Black and Indigenous people remain three to four times more likely than others to die from pregnancy-related causes. A rate of 55.3 is reported for non-Hispanic Black birthing people; a 2.5 to 3.5 times higher than non-Hispanic White (19.1) and Hispanic birthing people (18.2).


Eliminating preventable deaths and the Black-White gap in mortality is a public health priority.

Maternal death is a tragic and key sentinel event, and although total numbers are small, there is no acceptable number. Investigators estimate that more than 90% of all maternal deaths are preventable.

For every pregnant person who dies, many more suffer life-threatening complications resulting from or aggravated by pregnancy (this is called SMM, or severe maternal morbidity). SMM rates are also highest among Black birthing people, even in Massachusetts, and these rates and inequities continue to rise.

This initiative aims to improve birth outcomes for all patients and addresses ways in which systemic racism and implicit bias influence health outcomes for birthing people in Massachusetts.

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