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Maternal death rates and inequities in the United States are high — and on the rise. 

A young African American mother in a hospital gown gently holds her infant in her arms and smiles down at her. The baby's eyes are closed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the likelihood of death from pregnancy-related causes among birthing people who identify as Black, American Indian, or Alaska Native is two to three times higher compared to their White counterparts. Academic medicine has a unique role to play in the multisector collaborations needed to reverse these trends through policy, research, and action.

Our Approach

The AAMC is committed to a multipronged approach to avoid all preventable maternal deaths and improve maternal health and health equity around the country. The AAMC Center for Health Justice develops resources, convenes experts, and strengthens efforts around maternal health. Through equitable partnerships with communities, the center will work to understand the severity and complexity of maternal health inequities, advocate for policy solutions, and support innovative research for interventions to eliminate inequities that threaten the health and well-being of all birthing people.

A pregnant person with brown skin and long curly black hair holding their belly looking out over a landscape with speech bubbles, a magnifying glass, a hospital, computer chips, and raised fists.

Maternal Health Equity Workshop: From Story to Data to Action

On May 18th, this virtual follow-up event from the Maternal Health Incubator will bring together clinical care, research, public health, and technology to explore AI tools like natural language processing for improving qualitative maternal health equity data. Registration is now open!

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Maternal Health Research and Policy Analysis

The center conducts maternal health research and policy analysis to evaluate the potential health effects of proposed plans, projects, or policies before they are developed or implemented. It also provides practical recommendations to increase positive and minimize negative maternal outcomes.

Happy Black mother and father with their small child playing on the floor with blocks and a stuffed toy.

Paid Leave: A Health Justice Imperative for Maternal Mental Health

The U.S. is the only high-income country that has not enacted a national paid family leave program. The AAMC Center for Health Justice analyzed data from the CDC on the impact of paid leave on racial and ethnic maternal mental health inequities. 

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Image of a person holding a newborn baby in a hospital bed

AAMC Center for Health Justice Maternal Health Incubator

In this two-day virtual convening, maternal health stakeholders identified and shared evidence-based, innovative strategies to decrease racial and ethnic maternal health gaps and developed a collaborative, multisector action plan aimed at eliminating existing inequities through local, state, and federal policies and hyper-local collaborations. Access the 2022 session recordings and proceedings report.

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The AAMC Maternal Health Fact Sheet (PDF) highlights the efforts that the AAMC and its member institutions have undertaken to combat the maternal health crisis and strengthen the systems that improve the health of birthing people and their infants.

Screenshot of VP Harris's Call to Action Initial External Contributions on White House website

Vice President Kamala Harris Announces Call to Action to Reduce Maternal Mortality and Morbidity

The AAMC is recognized as an initial external contributor in response to Vice President Kamala Harris’s call to action to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. The AAMC contributed materials and a video to the White House Maternal Health Day of Action on December 7, 2021. Watch the video for the Day of Action, featuring Malika Fair, MD, MPH, AAMC Senior Director for Equity and Social Accountability. 


AAMC Maternal Health External Work Group (established in 2019)

This multidisciplinary network of experts in and beyond academic medicine, convened monthly by AAMC CHARGE (the Collaborative for Health Equity: Act, Research, Generate Evidence), serves as a hub where participants can share ideas and resources, funding opportunities, events, achievements, and news related to maternal health equity interests and initiatives.