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Faculty & Staff Honors

UIC: $9.5 Million Grant Focuses on Improving Maternal Health Outcomes

A $9.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)will help the University of Illinois at Chicago and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) improve maternal outcomes in Illinois.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, pregnancy-related mortality has increased steadily over the last 30 years. The number of deaths has more than doubled since that time, moving from 7.2 deaths per 100,000 live births to 16.9 in 2016, the latest available data.

In Illinois, about 73 women die each year within one year of pregnancy and black women are six times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related condition.

With the five-year funding, multidisciplinary researchers from UIC will work with the IDPH Illinois Title V Program and others to launch a series of new systems-level statewide efforts. Efforts include establishing a maternal health task force and improving methods for collecting data and training health care providers.

Dr. Arden Handler, director of Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health at UIC and co-principal investigator, said that a key aspect of this grant is to build upon the university’s prior work with the state to advance programs that address maternal mortality using a population approach.

“By partnering with IDPH to establish a maternal health task force and implement statewide initiatives, we have the opportunity to impact health across the state,” said Dr. Handler, who is also professor of community health sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.

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