Despite decades of passionate, well-intended effort, North Carolina has the 8th highest infant mortality rate in the nation. North Carolina is facing a maternal and infant mortality equity crisis, and FHLI is actively working to turn conversation into action.
In 2023, FHLI will launch the Maternal and Child Health Equity Action Network (MCHEAN). MCHEAN will engage key partners, communities, and stakeholders to develop a sustainable, community-driven network dedicated to strengthening maternal and child health equity.
- Form an equity and action-focused network with community representation
- Develop a community-informed report mapping and linking maternal and child health equity efforts in North Carolina
- Produce and publicize at least three action plans to achieve opportunities in partnerships, program development, and policy reform
Progress and Opportunities
- Trends in maternal and infant health
- The existing landscape in North Carolina
- Policy, workforce, health systems, and funding opportunities
- Next steps and a call to action
Facts & Figures
- Black women in North Carolina are 4 times more likely to lose a child before their first birthday compared to white women.
- Black women are also 2.9 times more likely than white women to die while pregnant or within a year of childbirth.
- Across the United States, maternal mortality increased 58 percent from 1990 – 2017. This rate is estimated to have continued to rise since 2017, making America the only industrialized nation with rising maternal mortality.
With funding and thought partnership from maternal health advocates and funders such as the HopeStar Foundation and The Duke Endowment, FHLI has undertaken a landscape analysis and additional community engagement. This work will identify and assess current efforts to improve maternal and infant mortality rates and reduce racial disparities in North Carolina.
In the summer of 2022, FHLI began a landscape analysis and interviewed and surveyed key stakeholders and communities with lived experience. These interviews and analysis will inform efforts to understand opportunities for action to improve maternal and infant mortality rates and reduce racial disparities. FHLI is researching and evaluating North Carolina’s current and past work related to maternal and infant mortality to assess how the plans are driving action, and what additional support is needed.
FHLI will launch MCHEAN in 2023, recruiting a target of 40 participants from across North Carolina.
At least 25 percent of MCHEAN participants will have lived experience interfacing with maternal and child health equity issues. FHLI will provide incentives for community participation to ensure community voice is represented and heard.
The goal of MCHEAN is to engage key partners, communities, and stakeholders who support maternal and child health equity in NC to develop a sustainable, community-driven network dedicated to strengthening maternal and child health equity and outcomes and reducing disparities through action.
- Elevate community voice and provide resources to drive maternal and child health equity through the formation of an equity and action-focused Network with community representation
- Improve knowledge of challenges and operationalize opportunities for maternal and child health equity in North Carolina by developing a community-informed report on the mapping and linking of existing efforts in the state.
- Prime North Carolina to improve maternal and child health equity by producing and publicizing at least three action plans to achieve opportunities in partnerships, program development, and policy reform.
Q&A Virtual Event: May 11, 2023
Following the release of its landscape maternal and child health report, FHLI hosted a Q&A event to answer questions and hear about ongoing community work. You can download slides from the Q&A here.
In partnership with WellCare of North Carolina, FHLI hosted a Doula Roundtable Discussion on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at the North Carolina State University McKimmon Conference and Training Center. This event was attended by 30 maternal and child health advocates and experts from across the state, as well as leaders from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, Virginia Department of Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health (OASH).
The roundtable featured presentations from the NC Department of Health and Human Services (NC DHHS) Women, Infant, and Community Wellness Section, doulas, OBGYNs, and maternal health advocates. Topics of discussion included current national and state maternal health landscapes, an overview of doulas and doula services, certifications, and reimbursement models. This roundtable discussion is an important component of our maternal and child health work at FHLI, and the learnings, ideas, and feedback from this event will continue to inform how we approach advocacy and programmatic work in the maternal and child health space.
Doula Roundtable Materials:
- Doula Roundtable Agenda
- Speaker Bios
- Discussion Recording
- Dr. Michele Benoit-Wilson, WellCare Medical Director
- Danielle Little, Maternal Child Health Professional, Doula, Childbirth Educator, Lactation Counselor
- Dr. Amelia Muse, Director of the Center of Excellence for Integrated Care
- Belinda Pettiford, Chief of the Women, Infant, and Community Wellness Section, NCDHHS Division of Public Health
- Tara Owens Shuler, Maternal Health Branch Head, NCDHHS Division of Public Health
- Natasha Turner, Doula Program Analyst for the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services, and Consuelo Staton, Virginia Resource Mothers Program Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Family Health Services
- Dr. Rachel Peragallo Urrutia, ACURE4Moms Co-Principal Investigator
For more information about the Doula Roundtable, please contact Carla Obiol, VP of Community Voice & Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org.