SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A new initiative aims to tackle systemic inequities for pregnant women in Illinois.
Created by the Illinois Perinatal Quality Collaborative, the Birth Equity Initiative aims to reduce racial disparities when it comes to pregnancy and birth health outcomes.
Dr. Ann Borders, maternal-fetal medicine physician at NorthShore University Health System, said the initiative is a response to rising maternal deaths particularly among Illinois’ women of color. The state’s recent maternal mortality report found health outcomes related to pregnancy for women of color are worse.
“Non-Hispanic black women are about three times more likely than non-Hispanic white women to die during or within a year of pregnancy from a related complication,” Borders said.
The initiative will work with hospitals to screen for social determinants of health, linking women to needed resources and services, and provide patient-centered, respectful, unbiased care among other things. The aim is to get every hospital in the state on board, Borders said.
The Birth Equity Initiative has four key drivers: addressing social determinants of health; reviewing maternal health quality data by race, ethnicity and insurance status to identify opportunities for improvement; promoting a patient-centered approach to engaging patients and communities; and educating providers on respectful care practices and addressing bias.