The United States has some of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the developed world and they continue to rise.

African-American women are at especially high risk and are three times more likely to die from maternal health issues than their white counterparts. African-American babies are more than twice as likely as white babies to die within their first year of life, and American Indian and Alaskan Native babies are nearly twice as likely.  

Four experts in maternal and infant mortality outlined this crisis for members of Congress and their staff during a standing-room-only briefing on November 19 on Capitol Hill. Reps. Alma S. Adams, Ph.D, (D-NC) and Lauren Underwood (D-IL), co-chairs of the Black Maternal Health Caucus, hosted the event along with First Focus on Children and the March of Dimes.

Our four expert speakers discussed the role of structural racism in the racial disparities in maternal and infant mortality rates; trends at the national and state levels; the importance of federal health care coverage policies in combating maternal and infant mortality; and steps that are being taken in states such as Illinois and Texas to improve care and outcomes for women and babies. 

Panelists included:

Below are some of the materials shared at the briefing:

A recording of the briefing and all slides can be found below: