How can disparities in maternal health outcomes be reduced?

Improving maternal health and reducing disparities through the 3M ACC


The U.S. currently has the highest rates of maternal mortality and morbidity in the developed world. These outcomes are largely preventable and are closely associated with racial and ethnic disparities, with Black women 3 to 4 times as likely to die from pregnancy-related causes as White women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Cardiovascular conditions are the leading causes of maternal death in the U.S., and cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and hypertension are strongly associated with increased risk of maternal morbidity. While evidence-based interventions exist, community-engaged research is needed to test implementation strategies that remove barriers to these interventions and ensure they are effective, feasible, acceptable and sustainable, particularly in at-risk populations.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is committed to ensuring that evidence-based interventions to reduce cardiovascular risk factors are delivered effectively to all women.


Westat has partnered with the NIH to function as the Administrative Coordinating Center (3M ACC) for the Maternal Health Community Implementation Project. The 3M ACC identifies and supports community-engaged researchers and local organizations as they work together to improve the delivery of evidence-based care in communities with high incidence of maternal morbidity and mortality.

Westat also convenes subject matter experts and patient advisory groups to support promising community-engaged implementation research. This activity helps to ensure that implementation strategies for evidence-based interventions are effective, feasible, acceptable, and likely to provide sustainable positive impacts on maternal health and outcomes.


The project seeks to rapidly award and fund regional coalitions to test the implementation of evidence-based interventions to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. The overall goal is to promote heart, lung, blood, and sleep health for women of reproductive age, particularly in disproportionately affected populations.


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