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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

UAlbany: Addressing Maternal Mortality in New York State

The number of women who die during childbirth is on the rise across the country, and a University at Albany School of Public Health (SPH) team has joined the forces working to change that in New York.

The SPH-based Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program, led by Dr. Christine Bozlak and Dr. Rachel de Long, was awarded $150,000 from the New York State Legislature this past year for research and statewide education on maternal mortality.

According to the Pew Research Center, the U.S. is a notable outlier in the steady decline of maternal mortality seen in other parts of the world. In N.Y., approximately 19 out of every 100,000 women died from complications related to childbirth from 2012-2016 according to the New York State Department of Health (DOH). Maternal death rates are disproportionately high among black women.

Health care and public health communities have mobilized to respond to these alarming trends. The state senate has addressed maternal health as part of a larger legislative Women’s Health Initiative, including the $150,000 award to UAlbany SPH to help explore and address the issue.

Drs. Bozlak and de Long, a clinical associate professor, partnered with the SPH-based Center for Public Health Continuing Education and DOH to produce a special edition of Public Health Live!  that was webcast to almost 1,000 health professionals and other participants. The webcast focused on the importance of engaging women and families from affected communities in order to develop initiatives, community approaches and changes to clinical systems that are responsive to their concerns.

The team also used the funding to support faculty and student research on maternal health, and to enhance an array of prevention activities already underway in New York.

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