The Elevance Health Foundation will invest up to $30 million over a three-year period to support programs that ensure women and their babies can achieve optimal health and well-being. As of January 2023, over $18 million in maternal health grants has been awarded, which will affect more than 100,000 women.
The U.S. is in the midst of a maternal and infant health crisis, which is particularly devastating to women and babies of color.
Approximately 700 women die in the U.S. each year as a result of pregnancy complications—the highest rate in the developed world. Black women are three to four times more likely to die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications than White women.
Moreover, inequities in health begin before birth and continue through childhood. Stillbirths—pregnancy losses after 20-week gestation—are more common among Black women than among White and Hispanic women. Infants born to Black women are over twice as likely to die as those born to White women. And children’s health may be adversely affected by mothers’ economic insecurity and lack of well-being.
The U.S. has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the developed world.
The number of maternal deaths in the U.S. compared with those in other developed countries.
The likelihood of maternal deaths of Black women compared with those of White women in the U.S.
The percentage of U.S. maternal deaths that occur after delivery.
Fueled by our commitment to address health disparities across our nation, the Elevance Health Foundation is working hand in hand with community partners to drive change. Since 2015, the Foundation has invested over $30 million in maternal health programs ranging from prenatal care to equity training and access to mental health support.
Following our recently refined strategy, the Foundation is now supporting programs that specifically work to create equity in maternal healthcare. We are focusing on programs that address racial disparities and biases, attend to health-related social needs, remove barriers to care, and drive specific, measurable maternal/child health outcomes.
Creating Healthier Communities (CHC)
Black women have a 50% greater likelihood of preterm births than women of other races and ethnicities. To combat this disparity, through a $7 million grant, the Elevance Health Foundation and CHC aim to bring to market a novel point-of-care tool that will screen pregnant Black women for stress and social drivers of health that are predictors of preterm birth. This tool will be adapted to support maternal healthcare and for use with electronic medical records.
The tool’s efficacy will be studied by assessing changes in preterm birth rates among pregnant women screened with it.
The Morehouse School of Medicine
Maternal health outcomes are adversely affected by variations in quality of healthcare, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. The Elevance Health Foundation has provided a $1.7 million grant to the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, to support an interprofessional training program addressing maternal heath inequities.
The program will focus on enhanced communication, bias reduction, clinical-care coordination, and improved performance for marginalized communities.
Urban Baby Beginnings
Urban Baby Beginnings is improving maternal and child health outcomes in Virginia. Through in-person and virtual visits, it connects maternal health practitioners with pregnant and postpartum women and young children in challenging circumstances.
A $825,000 grant from the Elevance Health Foundation will support a new community-based hub, building a seamless network of paraprofessional support and resources for expectant and postpartum women.