Cutting-Edge Practice

Maternal Mortality Prevention Program

State/Jurisdiction: Colorado
Setting: Community
Population: Women & Maternal
Topic Area: Reproductive Health

Maternal mortality has been increasing in the United States, which is an unacceptable situation. It is crucial to remain vigilant and active in preventing maternal mortality. Maternal mortality is the death of a person while pregnant or up to one year postpartum, from any cause. It is an important indicator of the health and health equity of a community and health care system. Each case is a tragedy that is often preventable. The circumstances and causes vary and may be prevented at any level of the system: patient, provider, facility, systems, or community factors. In addition to being preventable, maternal death is not experienced evenly across the population. Colorado's Maternal Mortality Prevention Program uses a three-pronged approach of community-led solutions, clinical quality improvement, and public health programs to eliminate preventable maternal deaths in the State of Colorado, reduce maternal morbidities, and improve population health and health equity for pregnant and postpartum people.Throughout the U.S., the burden of maternal death is disproportionately and unfairly borne by individuals of color, those with low socioeconomic status, and those living in communities where systemic inequality has persisted and is perpetuated. Black and Native American people are at the highest risk for pregnancy-related death in the U.S. due to those structural determinants. Colorado’s commitment to reviewing maternal mortality was put in statute in May 2019 when Gov. Jared Polis signed the bipartisan Maternal Mortality Prevention Act to formalize and fund the Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC). It also provided subpoena protection for MMRC members and required affected communities to be represented on the MMRC. The legislation also enabled Colorado to apply for and receive grant funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s ERASE Maternal Mortality grant program, which began in October 2019. The CDC grant supports the state to expand its three-pronged strategy of community-led solutions, clinical quality improvement, and public health programs. With funds from the CDC and the state, Colorado's Maternal Mortality Prevention Program can collect better data, analyze, and publish data more frequently, and implement recommendations to prevent deaths and improve maternal health equity.

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Implementation Handout

Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment
Shivani Bhatia

Practice Website