Aug 13, 2023 RWJBarnabas Health Addresses Maternal Health Equity

pregnant woman speaking with a nurse

RWJBarnabas Health is committed to the health and well-being of all women throughout pregnancy, delivery and the postpartum period. Across the U.S. and in the state of New Jersey, maternal morbidity and mortality continue to rise, but for Black and Hispanic women, the statistics are alarming.

Delivering approximately a quarter of all hospital births in the state of New Jersey annually, RWJBarnabas Health is uniquely positioned to effect transformative change. At the root of addressing inequities in care is a focus across the system on addressing the social determinants of health, and providing resources, such as transportation, to reduce barriers to care that impact Black and Hispanic women disproportionately.

Black women are more likely to die from a pregnancy-related complication than their white peers, which is unacceptable. Across RWJBarnabas Health, we are committed to bringing about change, fostering a community of support for Black and Hispanic mothers, and amplifying the call for birth equity.

The RWJBarnabas Health OB Collaborative, which is an interdisciplinary leadership team committed to ending preventable maternal morbidity and mortality, and promoting equity in maternity care, continues to support various initiatives and programs across the system that address access to quality and equitable care, social determinants of health, and empowering women through shared decision-making.

A few examples of these programs and initiatives are below:

  • Implementation of the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health patient safety bundles. Patient Safety Bundles are a structured way of improving the processes of care and patient outcomes. They are clinical condition-specific and follow an evidence-based structure, that when performed consistently have been proven to improve patient outcomes. A bundle includes actionable steps and a reliable way of monitoring data. Focus on the obstetric hemorrhage safety bundle has resulted in a reduction of severe maternal morbidity across the system.
  • Participation in TeamBirth NJ, an evidence-based, national model for better provider and patient communication (shared decision making), which is designed to enhance birthing experiences and improve outcomes. This care model was launched at Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center in Fall 2022 and preliminary data is encouraging. In Fall 2023, TeamBirth will be launched at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital and Jersey City Medical Center.
  • Centering Pregnancy, an evidence-based model of prenatal care that brings 8-10 birthing people of different ages, races and socio-economic backgrounds—all due to give birth around the same time—together for their care. Numerous published studies show that birthing people participating in Centering Pregnancy have healthier babies and that Centering nearly eliminates racial disparities in preterm birth. The Centering Pregnancy model started in Spring 2023 at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, and will launch in Fall 2023 at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital.
  • Family planning clinics, which provide high-quality and comprehensive family planning and preventative health services at low or no cost. All adults can receive care at our two locations: Monmouth Medical Center and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. Another clinic will soon open at Clara Maass Medical Center.
  • Implicit Bias education and training for all RWJBarnabas Health employees, including clinical teams.

For more information view Health Equity.