CLEVELAND, April 27, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- March of Dimes, the leader in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, and longtime partner Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation are working together to tackle Cleveland's maternal and infant health crisis.
As both organizations continue to address health inequity across the country, they will target the Cleveland area through a partnership with First Year Cleveland and two local premier hospitals – University Hospitals and The MetroHealth System – in an effort to address the racial disparities and social determinants of health that have disproportionately impacted Black mothers.
Cleveland's preterm birth rate is among the worst of 100 U.S. cities with the highest number of births. And in Ohio, the preterm birth rate among Black women is 48% higher than the rate of all other women. These factors, together with the direct experience of racial discrimination and unequal treatment, have built a health equity gap that is detrimental to moms and babies of color. Researchers have identified implicit – or unconscious – bias among health care providers as a potential contributor to these disparities. This bias and other structural inequities contribute to chronic or "toxic" stress, which increases a woman's chances of delivering prematurely.
The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently reported that racial and ethnic health disparities in the U.S. have worsened over the past two decades. In response to these findings, March of Dimes developed Breaking Through Implicit Bias in Maternal Healthcare training, in collaboration with Quality Interactions, to improve patient-provider communications and treatment decisions, contributing to improved quality of care at a critical intervention point. The course provides an overview of implicit bias, its impact on the maternal and infant health crisis, the history of structural racism in the United States, and strategies for providers to both mitigate racial bias in maternity care and commit to a culture of equity. The American Hospital Association recognizes the value of this important training program and the potential benefits of its use by healthcare providers across the country to better identify and remedy implicit bias.
"The U.S. is in the midst of a maternal and infant health crisis, which is particularly devastating to women and babies of color. Data shows that the U.S. remains among the most dangerous developed nations in the world for childbirth," said Dr. Rahul Gupta, March of Dimes Chief Medical and Health Officer, Senior Vice President, and Interim Chief Scientific Officer. "Roughly every 12 hours, a woman dies from pregnancy-related causes, and the CDC reports that 60 percent are preventable. Programs like these, supported by the Anthem Foundation, are invaluable in making a positive impact for moms and babies."
Over the past decade, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation's parent company, Anthem Foundation, has contributed close to $8 million to support March of Dimes programs aimed at reducing premature birth that have reached more than 50,000 pregnant women across the country. These programs have had a significant impact with only 7.3% of participants in group prenatal care delivering prematurely, compared to a national average of 10%.
"Recognizing, addressing and eliminating implicit bias in health care is a critical step in reducing health inequity, and to building healthier lives and communities in Ohio," explained Dr. Bradley Jackson, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Ohio Medical Director. "This training will give doctors, nurses and other health care workers tools to understand the biases we all have and how those biases insidiously impact care for mothers and babies."
The grant also supports programs for moms and babies, such as Supportive Pregnancy Care. Through Supportive Pregnancy Care, pregnant women receive their clinical care, share support with other women at a similar stage in pregnancy, and gain knowledge and skills related to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenting.
About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family. Visit marchofdimes.org or nacersano.org for more information. Visit shareyourstory.org for comfort and support. Find us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.
About Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation
Through charitable grant making, the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation LLC, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, promotes Anthem's commitment to improving lives and communities. Through strategic partnerships and programs, the Foundation addresses the social drivers that will help create a healthier generation of Americans in communities that the company serves. The Foundation focuses its funding on critical initiatives that make up its Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets: maternal health, diabetes prevention, cancer prevention, heart health and healthy, active lifestyles, behavioral health efforts and programs that benefit people with disabilities. The Foundation also coordinates the company's year-round Dollars for Dollars program which provides a 100 percent match of associates' donations, as well as its Volunteer Time Off and Dollars for Doers community service programs. ®ANTHEM is a registered trademark of Anthem Insurance Companies, Inc. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield names and symbols are registered marks of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. To learn more about the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation, please visit http://www.anthem.foundation and its blog at https://medium.com/anthemfoundation.
SOURCE March of Dimes Inc.