This week, in advance of Mother’s Day, ACOG hosted a virtual Congressional briefing titled “America’s Two Public Health Crises: The Impact of COVID-19 on Racial Inequities and Maternal Mortality in the U.S.” Organized in partnership with the National Birth Equity Collaborative and March of Dimes, the moderated discussion centered on the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on communities of color, further exposing inequities that women of color face, and potentially exacerbating the country's maternal mortality crisis.
Speakers included ACOG Past President Lisa Hollier, MD, MPH, FACOG; Joia Crear-Perry, MD, FACOG, Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative; Rahul Gupta, MD, Chief Medical and Health Officer at the March of Dimes; and Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP, Director of the Blavatnik Family Women’s Health Research Institute and Professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. The panel was moderated by Talia Coney, MD, ACOG JFCAC vice chair and a member of the ACOG Government Affairs Committee.
The conversation covered topics ranging from the need for adequate data collection and surveillance, with a focus on collecting and reporting on outcomes by race and ethnicity; anecdotes on providing obstetric care during the pandemic, including hospital visitation policies; and the important role of the Medicaid program in our efforts to eliminate preventable maternal mortality and racial inequities in access to care. Speakers were united in urging Congress to extend continuous Medicaid coverage for 12 months postpartum, advance evidence-based maternal health quality improvement initiatives, support increased access to PPE and rapid-response diagnostic testing in labor and delivery units, improve equitable access to telemedicine, and support research, surveillance, and data collection activities that include pregnant women and women of color.
You can watch a recording of the briefing.