By Kiana Hardy, MPH, Project Manager, March of Dimes
For 85 years, March of Dimes has helped millions of families be healthy and strong in communities like yours and across the country. Our journey began at the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, where we led research that eradicated polio. Over the decades, we evolved to provide essential information and research critical for moms and babies as March of Dimes. We build on that legacy each year to level the playing field for every parent, baby, and family, no matter their wealth, race, gender, or geography.
This year, we celebrate our lasting impact and continue to lead the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Through our milestones, we’re not only celebrating but also remembering our impact from the past 85 years. With the generous support of our partners and donors, we fight for every mom and every family. It’s what we do. It’s what we’ve always done. But we’re far from finished. We’re committed to mobilizing the nation by amplifying the voices of women and families, and we have a renewed commitment to helping moms and babies with the tools, technology, and care they need.
Celebrate our legacy and be a part of our lasting impact for the next 85 years. Join our mission now.
Women in Maternity Care Deserts Suffer from Poor Health Outcomes
In the 2020 report Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S., March of Dimes highlighted the needs in “maternity care desert” counties. An estimated twelve percent of births occur in maternity care deserts, which are counties where access to maternity health care services is limited or absent, either through lack of services or barriers to a woman’s ability to access that care. There are also counties where women have limited access to maternity care due to few obstetrics providers or maternity care sites and a high proportion of uninsured women. Birthing women living in these deserts traditionally have poor maternal and infant outcomes related to the lack of services and support.
Our 2022 Maternity Care Deserts Report shows that the maternity care crisis is getting worse. Facing historic declines, the loss of obstetric providers and hospital closings are further driving the conditions of the maternal health crisis across the U.S. and putting health care for families in danger. (The 2022 report describes a two percent increase in counties that are maternity care deserts since the 2020 report: this represents 1,119 counties and an additional 15,933 women with no maternity care.)
Better Starts for All Pilot
In 2020, March of Dimes and Reckitt began piloting two interventions to increase access to care and improve outcomes in maternity care deserts throughout Better Starts for All. We’re currently piloting two evidence-based interventions, Community Health Workers and Mom & Baby Mobile Health Centers® in the Washington D.C. area and Southeast Ohio. Women in the pilot regions prefer services from providers that they trust and prefer individual rather than group services. The pilot has seen an impressive number of visits, and we’ve exceeded our total program goals for 2023. As of June 2022, 724 women received care through 2,292 visits across both interventions.
March of Dimes is committed to expanding our footprint to support solutions like mobile health centers in maternity care deserts. We look forward to working together and continuing to explore opportunities for innovations that will help us reach our goal—a long-term path of sustainability and scale to provide greater maternity care access to women across the United States living in maternity care deserts.
Present at the 2023 AMCHP Annual Conference
The Better Starts for All team and March of Dimes’ SVP & Chief Medical Officer Elizabeth Cherot are excited to convene with maternal and infant health leaders in New Orleans in May 2023. As the conference app sponsor and exhibitor, we invite you all to learn more about the mission of March of Dimes and how you can get involved. You will find more information related to the Better Starts for All pilot in your tote bag, and we’ll have a few opportunities for you to get involved via the official AMCHP conference app. Come see us in the exhibitor hall to learn more!