In the United States every year, over 50,000 women experience a life-threatening complication during pregnancy and childbirth, and more than 700 women die from complications. Dr. Michael Lu, MD, MS, MPH, Senior Associate Dean for Academic, Student, and Faculty Affairs at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (GW Milken Institute SPH), recently published a commentary in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), in which he called for reducing maternal mortality by half by 2025, and achieving zero maternal deaths in the U.S. by 2050.
“In the 21st century, no woman should ever die of complications related to pregnancy and childbirth in the United States,” Dr. Lu wrote.
In the commentary, Dr. Lu details three steps that health professionals can take to reduce maternal mortality rates: learn from every maternal death by reporting and reviewing each death; ensure quality and safety of maternity care as most maternal deaths in the United States are preventable; and improve women’s health over the course of a lifetime, not only during pregnancy and childbirth.
Dr. Lu is a renowned expert in maternal and child health in the United States. Prior to joining Milken Institute SPH, Lu was Director of the Maternal and Child Bureau for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, where he transformed key federal programs in maternal and child health, launched major initiatives to reduce maternal and child mortality, and received the prestigious Herbert H. Humphrey Award for Service to America.
Dr. Lu’s commentary, “Reducing Maternal Mortality Rates in the United States,” was published online on Sept. 10.