Elena Ivanova firstname.lastname@example.org
CHICAGO – The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) today released a new report, Maternal Morbidity & Mortality In Chicago, which is its first such assessment providing data on severe maternal morbidity (severe pregnancy complications) and pregnancy-associated mortality (death), along with specific rates by demographic subgroups. The report found that in Chicago, consistent with national and state trends, non-Hispanic Black women and women living in communities with higher economic hardship bear the largest burden of maternal morbidity and pregnancy-associated mortality
To address the disparities revealed in the report, the City is working with community partners to ensure that all expectant mothers, regardless of their race or where they live, have access to the care they need to have healthy pregnancies. One such effort is Family Connects Chicago, announced last month by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, a program designed to ensure mothers and newborns receive the support they need to grow and thrive.
“Maternal health outcomes are a critical marker of the health of our city. The racial and socioeconomic disparities highlighted in this report are a call to action for us,” said Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “In partnership with local healthcare providers, community organizations, and policy makers, we are working to increase access to care and address the historical social and economic barriers that have contributed to creating these disparities.”
In developing the Maternal Morbidity & Mortality in Chicago report, CDPH utilized data provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), as well as support from the IDPH Maternal Child Health federal grant. Some important findings in the report:
In addition to racial-ethnic disparities, those living in communities with greater economic hardship (i.e., difficult economic conditions based on factors such as housing, income, unemployment, and education level) are disproportionately affected by severe maternal morbidity and pregnancy-associated mortality. The report also concludes that access to prenatal care is important for maternal health outcomes, which in turn is important for the health of infants.
“In public health, we are committed to making data-informed decisions, and this report will help us ensure that we allocate valuable resources and expertise to where they are needed most,” said CDPH Acting Commissioner Allison Arwady, MD, MPH.
Arwady said that by analyzing and sharing these data, CDPH seeks to provide new insights and useful information to partners in the larger public health system who are working with the City to develop the programs, policies and systems needed to improve maternal health for all Chicago women.
“The findings of this report underscore CDPH’s mission to promote and improve health by engaging residents, communities and stakeholders in establishing services and policies that prioritize residents with the greatest need, and our shared vision for health equity,” Arwady said.
The City and its many partners are already taking steps to improve maternal and infant health outcomes. Last month, Mayor Lightfoot and CDPH launched Family Connects Chicago, a service designed to support the health and wellbeing of mothers, newborns and their families by providing postpartum home visits with registered nurses at no cost. The service, which is being piloted at four Chicago birthing hospitals, will also connect new mothers to community resources as needed. IDPH has provided almost $5 million to CDPH to help support the program.
“We are proud to partner with Chicago on bold steps, such as Family Connects, to reduce disparities and improve the health and wellbeing of mothers and infants,” said Ngozi Ezike, MD, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health. “We are committed to efforts that ensure every mom and baby in Illinois receive the care and support they need through partnerships with local health departments and stakeholders in the healthcare system. Our hope is to obtain additional funding to duplicate the Family Connects Chicago program across the state.”
Family Connects Chicago is just one of many initiatives from the public health system and its community partners dedicated to improving maternal and infant health outcomes. Others include, but are not limited to:
“From providing prenatal nutrition and education support, to expanding home visiting services for moms and babies, CDPH is working with our partners to improve maternal health, particularly among our most vulnerable populations,” said Dr. Arwady. “And we are committed to continuing to work with IDPH and others to ensure that these interventions and investments have a positive impact.”