AMCHP Joins Ariadne Labs in Supporting the Safer Childbirth Cities Initiative
June 29, 2020

Organization to Receive Funding from Grantmaking Collaborative to Administer Community of Practice

The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) has announced the development and implementation of a Community of Practice in support of the Safer Childbirth Cities initiative, funded by Merck for Mothers and RHIA Ventures.

Safer Childbirth Cities was launched in 2018 by Merck for Mothers, Merck’s $500 million global initiative to help end preventable maternal deaths. Focused on cities across the U.S. with a high burden of maternal mortality and morbidity, Safer Childbirth Cities supports community-based organizations to implement evidence-based interventions and innovative approaches that are tailored to the needs of pregnant women to foster local solutions that help cities become safer – and more equitable – places to give birth.

Safer Childbirth Cities grantees are developing systems to improve maternal health outcomes and promote health equity in their respective communities. With the support of co-funders including the Burke Foundation, The Nicholson Foundation, the Community Health Acceleration Partnership, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Merck for Mothers, Rhia Ventures, and others, the initiative currently supports programs across ten cities in the United States. The inaugural class of Safer Childbirth Cities are located in Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Camden, NJ; Chicago, IL; Columbus, OH; Jackson, NS; Newark, NJ; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; and Pittsburgh, PA.

The Community of Practice will convene the current and future grantees around their common purpose and passions over a three-year period. It will provide a safe and trusting space for innovating ideas and problem-solving and to share and seek experience and expertise. With the emergence of Covid-19, this community will be a place where grantees can reimagine maternal and child health as it will exist both presently and in a post-pandemic world. In forming the Community of Practice, AMCHP will partner with the National Healthy Start Association, the membership organization for over 100 federally funded Healthy Start programs situated in the neighborhoods of our nation’s poorest cities and the only decades-old membership organization uniting community-driven programs aimed at improving infant and maternal health in communities of color. Together, AMCHP and the National Healthy Start Association will support capacity-building across grantees and with their permission and trust, celebrate learnings and innovations as grantees build safer and more equitable communities to give birth.

“We will see improvements in the care and health of our Black and Brown moms if we as a nation invest in them, and the organizations that support them in designing and implementing efforts that disentangle ourselves from inequitable systems,” says Jonathan Webb, AMCHP CEO. “We are proud to partner in the Safer Childbirth Cities initiative to align the efforts of the public health, health care, and policy leaders we serve with the work of ten community organizations.”

AMCHP will also work alongside the Delivery Decisions Initiative (DDI) of Ariadne Labs, a joint health systems innovation center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. DDI envisions a world in which every person can choose to grow their family with dignity. Their work follows an innovation pathway that produces transformative, globally scalable solutions using human-centered design, rigorous measurement, and implementation science.

Ariadne Labs will design, develop, and test a tool that local governments and community partners can use to measure and improve maternal health using the best available data. The envisioned tool will point to evidence-based investments that reduce inequities in pregnancy and childbirth, expand on traditional public health interventions, align with national and state action to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity, and promote dignity for new parents and their families.

“At Ariadne Labs, we recognize the importance of a strong evidence-base for local action to improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant and birthing people,” says Leigh Graham, Scientific Lead for the Cities Challenge at Ariadne Labs. “Through our partnership with the Safer Childbirth Cities initiative, we are committed to developing a data-driven tool that guides urban investments in social support and the neighborhood environments in which people grow their families.”

To learn more about Safer Childbirth Cities, please visit