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$1.5 Million in Grants Awarded to Promote Maternal Health Equity in Massachusetts

BOSTON — Massachusetts Attorney General Andrea Campbell awarded $1.5 million Tuesday in maternal health equity grants.

“When it comes to racial disparities, particularly racial health disparities, we recognize we have more work to do specifically in this space,” Campbell said.

The goal of the grants is to increase culturally competent care, including maternal health equity to services such as prenatal care, perinatal behavioral heath support and breastfeeding support and increase access to the doula network.

“I know there are patients who have had nice, normal deliveries because of their doula, and for no other reason, so we are so thankful to have them and so thankful to increase their services,” said Dr. Melissa Ethier, director of labor and delivery at Cambridge Health Alliance.

Campbell said there is a maternal health crisis across the country with a sharp national increase in maternal deaths.

Healthcare centers in some Massachusetts cities and towns said they struggle with racial disparities, particularly regarding language and transportation.

“Much of the feedback that we hear from our patients is that they are not being heard,” said Dr. Adrienne Headley, of Whittier St. Health Center.

“This is not an intractable problem. We’re not talking billions or even hundreds of millions — we’re talking something fairly small to be able to provide the access to women to get to their prenatal appointments,” said Dr. Guy Fish, CEO and president of Greater Lawrence Family Health Center.

Officials said the funding is a starting point for closing the gap and improving maternal outcomes.

“I am really proud to be sitting at this table with each and every one of you, thinking outside of the box on ways to address these critical issues,” Campbell said.

The grants are funded through settlements reached by the Attorney General’s office.

Source : WCVB