Publication Date



health disparities, maternal mortality, African American, American Indian, provider-patient relationship, health equity, patient focus


Despite spending more on health care than any other country, the United States has the worst maternal mortality rate among all developed nations. African American and American Indian/Alaskan Native women have the worst outcomes by race, representing a stark health disparity within the country. Contributing factors disproportionately experienced by these minority populations include challenges of access to consistent and high-quality prenatal care, prevalence of underlying conditions, toxic stress due to systemic racism, and unconscious bias in health care. While many of these factors lie upstream in the lives of women, and seemingly beyond the scope of the clinical walls, the downstream health care delivery system can serve as a vital part of the solution via innovative practices, community-based collaborations, and by serving as advocates for the communities served. Such alignments between clinicians, community leaders, policymakers, and patients that extend beyond the health system can serve as the missing piece needed within the clinic to reverse the trajectory of maternal mortality for American women, especially those from traditionally underserved populations.




August 13th, 2020


December 14th, 2020


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