NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

NINR Holds Workshop on Reducing Inequities in Maternal Health

Last fall, NINR convened a workshop on innovative models of care for reducing inequities in maternal health. The workshop, co-sponsored by NICHD, NIMHD, ORWH and the Tribal Health Research Office, explored how nurses, midwives and birth companions can improve maternal and infant health for women in U.S. communities affected by racial discrimination, socioeconomic inequities and other system-level factors that contribute to maternal health inequities. More than 500 viewers tuned in. An archived recording of the workshop is available at

Among the key points:

  • Research is needed that focuses on understanding the structural inequalities and system-level factors affecting childbearing women in health disparity communities, including policies that result in decreased access to health care, lower quality care and disparate outcomes.
  • Successful, innovative programs that are using person-centered, team-based approaches must be made sustainable and scalable.
  • Respectful incorporation of community-generated knowledge and community members into models of care and maternal health research teams is important.
  • The needs of pregnant women are met by respecting, listening to and supporting them, as well as communities and the health care workforce.
  • A team-based approach that involves midwives, doulas or community health workers provides valuable person-centered care that results in positive maternal and infant outcomes, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

In the discussion sessions, participants shared lessons learned and identified research opportunities to improve maternal health care in underserved communities.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)