Stanford Medicine-based group receives $10 million to improve maternal health

The California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative receives funding to develop evidence-based strategies that address disparities in maternal health.

- By Erin Digitale

Women of color suffer worse maternal outcomes than white women. A federal grant to a collaborative housed at Stanford Medicine is aimed at reducing these disparities.
Andrey Popov

The U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration has awarded a five-year, $10 million grant to the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, housed at Stanford Medicine, to address health inequities facing pregnant women.

Over the last 15 years, quality improvement campaigns led by CMQCC have lowered maternal mortality rates in California even when they have risen elsewhere in the country. For instance, the organization developed evidence-based toolkits that guide clinicians in treating obstetric emergencies such as hemorrhage and preeclampsia. Although CMQCC’s work has prevented many maternal deaths, women of color — especially those of Black and Native American heritage — are still at substantially greater risk during pregnancy and childbirth.

“With this award, California will continue to address the egregious, disproportionate maternal mortality rates among women of color,” said Jennifer Siebel Newsom, first partner of California, in an HRSA announcement about the award. “We must ensure all mothers and birthing people can safely and equitably receive the care they need.”

The new funding will allow CMQCC to convene a steering committee in collaboration with the Office of the California Surgeon General; the California Department of Public Health’s Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Division; the Department of Health Care Services; and, more importantly, patients with lived experience. The steering committee will convene a maternal health task force comprising experts in public health and health care as well as partners from government, non-governmental and academic sectors. Members of the task force will conduct a needs assessment to identify gaps in maternity care and develop a strategic plan that will help at-risk pregnant individuals gain access to evidence-based medical, public health and social service resources. The task force’s goal will be to reduce severe birth complications, maternal deaths, and racial and ethnic inequities.

“As a result of CMQCC’s work, California is now a national and world leader in transformative perinatal quality initiatives,” said Leslee Subak, MD, chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford Medicine and the Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor III. “This new funding is a wonderful recognition of these efforts and offers an amazing opportunity to build on this history of innovation and success.”

About Stanford Medicine

Stanford Medicine is an integrated academic health system comprising the Stanford School of Medicine and adult and pediatric health care delivery systems. Together, they harness the full potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education and clinical care for patients. For more information, please visit

2023 ISSUE 3

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