Health Resources in Action (HRiA) is committed to helping people live healthier lives and create healthy communities through prevention, health promotion, policy, and research. HRiA has moved the needle in critical health areas including those faced by vulnerable women and is well positioned to address the increasing maternal death rates in the United States, which disproportionately affects black women, low-income women, and women from rural areas. HRiA aims to increase the capacity and readiness of a national stakeholder group to address poor maternal health outcomes through patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR).
HRiA will convene the National Maternal Health Research Network (NMHRN), comprised of patients/patient representatives, researchers, clinicians, and other stakeholders to develop a PCOR national agenda to improve maternal health outcomes. Project aims include forming a stakeholder group; developing a shared understanding of patient-prioritized issues contributing to adverse maternal outcomes; and creating a patient-prioritized agenda that includes patient-centered research and related actions to reduce maternal morbidity. Long-term objectives include establishing a sustainable multidisciplinary network; disseminating current and future best practices and models of care; increasing participation among the clinical/social-science research community in projects focused on maternal health; strengthening collaboration among multiple sectors, and between patients and professionals, to address maternal health; and increasing accountability to move toward system-level change.
HRiA has developed a comprehensive two-year project plan to launch, strengthen, and sustain the NMHRN. In year 1, HRiA will build the NMHRN by identifying stakeholders who bring expertise in maternal health, a passion for reducing maternal mortality through patient-centered research and multidisciplinary collaboration, or personal experience with adverse maternal health outcomes. Recognizing initiatives underway to address components of the NMHRN’s aim, HRiA will build upon the strength of existing collaborations in developing its broader-focused network. While building the larger network, HRiA will recruit steering committee members who demonstrate the capacity to take on a leadership role and reflect the racial, geographic, and economic diversity that mirrors those most impacted by the health challenges the project aims to address. Under the steering committee, the NMHRN will engage the broader stakeholder group to participate in focused workgroups. Year 1 will culminate in a two-day symposium to create a PCOR-prioritized agenda and work plan. In year 2, HRiA will maintain and continue to strengthen the network, while overseeing implementation of the PCOR Agenda and Workplan. Also, HRiA will seek sustaining resources to ensure the NMHRN’s efforts continue beyond the initial grant period.
As with other national initiatives, HRiA will serve as the neutral facilitator, project manager, and advisor. HRiA secured a commitment from professional stakeholders and their affiliated institutions, some of whom have prepared letters of support included in this application and others who have expressed their interest in participation in the network. These include the National Birth Equity Collaborative, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston Medical Center, Maternal Mental Health Research Collaborative, and March for Moms.