Baltimore, MD— The Maryland Department of Health (MDH) has been awarded more than $1.1 million over the next three years from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support statewide efforts to improve maternal health outcomes. MDH will use these funds ($373,413 per year) to support in-depth reviews of pregnancy-associated deaths to gain a better understanding of the causes of maternal mortality and complications that occur during and after pregnancy in Maryland, including associated disparities.

MDH’s Maryland Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC) was one of only 30 programs chosen nationally to receive the Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality Program (ERASE MM) grant. This effort supports Maryland’s recently announced $72 million maternal and child health careinitiative, which is aimed at improving related health disparities for Marylanders statewide.

According to Maryland’s recently released 2020 Maternal Mortality Review (which reviews pregnancy-associated deaths from 2018), the state’s maternal mortality rate from 2014-2018 was 18.4 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births, compared with 20.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births nationwide during the same timeframe. These figures represent an improvement from 24.5 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births between 2009 – 2013, but large disparities still exist in the pregnancy-associated health outcomes of Black and Hispanic Marylanders. 

“A woman dying during pregnancy and childbirth from preventable causes is not acceptable,” said MDH Secretary Dennis R. Schrader. “We welcome this funding from the CDC, which will complement our efforts to look deeper into the causes of maternal mortality and complications during pregnancy in Maryland and find solutions.”

The grant will support multi-disciplinary reviews of maternal mortality data and all pregnancy-associated deaths that occur in Maryland, ensuring that all such deaths are thoroughly evaluated. The grant will also support the staff necessary to analyze the data and to help implement the preventive health recommendations which result from the analysis.

“By better understanding why pregnancy-related deaths occur, we can better prevent them with evidence-based solutions,” said MDH Deputy Secretary for Public Health Dr. Jinlene Chan. “This program, along with the other efforts we are making to improve maternal and child health will help us meet important community health goals for all Marylanders.”

In December 2020, Maryland designated maternal and child health as the third population health priority area under its Statewide Integrated Health Improvement Strategy (SIHIS). The SIHIS is a coordinated public-private initiative to improve health, reduce disparities, and transform healthcare delivery under Maryland’s Total Cost of Care Model.

For more information about MDH efforts to improve pregnancy-related outcomes and improve the health of families statewide, visit https://health.maryland.gov/phpa/mch/Pages/home.aspx.


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