WASHINGTON, D.C., Feb. 17, 2021 — A multidisciplinary team and multi-stakeholder approach that supports the patient from preconception through postpartum period should be the standard of practice, according to “A Working Agenda for Black Mothers: A Position Paper from the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) on Solutions to Improving Black Maternal Health,” published in the American Heart Association’s journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.
This comprehensive statement, the first on this important topic, aligns with the ABC’s mission to promote the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease by eliminating inequities and improving access to evidence-based treatments.
The paper is the result of the ABC’s Black Maternal Heart Health Roundtable convened on June 13, 2020 in an effort to amplify the magnitude of this epidemic in the U.S. that disproportionately impacts Black women. The Roundtable brought together diverse stakeholders and champions of maternal health equity to tackle this crisis in the Black community and explore how innovative ideas, solutions and opportunities could be implemented, while seeking additional ways attendees could address maternal health concerns within the healthcare system.
“For mothers of all backgrounds overall, cardiovascular-related conditions are the most common cause of death,” said Rachel M. Bond, MD, lead author of the paper and Co-Chair of ABC’s Cardiovascular Disease in Women and Children’s Committee. “However, for Black women they are three times more likely than their White counterparts to experience it during their pregnancy and the postpartum period. And when people ask what is the cause for such disproportionate maternal deaths in the Black Community? The answer is not race. It’s not because Black women are biologically different, but more so rooted in a complex web led by racism and gender oppression.”
The solutions provided in the paper address a myriad of barriers seen at the community, patient and clinician level, including the impact that structural racism and social determinants of health (SDOH) have on healthcare delivery. At the core of the paper is a collaborative care approach, which has been shown effective in lowering the staggering numbers of morbidity and mortality seen during pregnancy and the postpartum period, which disproportionately affects Black mothers.
“Our message is simple,” said Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, senior author of the paper and ABC Board Chair. “We believe every Black woman who presents for care during pregnancy deserves to be heard and properly treated. It is a matter of life and death – for the mother, for the unborn child, for the family and for the entire community.”
The ABC is proud to be the cardiovascular (CV) society at the forefront in addressing the disparate maternal morbidity and mortality crisis that significantly impacts communities of color.
About the Association of Black Cardiologists
Founded in 1974, the ABC is a nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating the disparities related to cardiovascular disease and achieving health equity such that all people can live long healthy lives. Membership is open to all interested in the care of people with or at risk for cardiovascular disease, including health professionals, lay members of the community (Community Health Advocates), corporate and institutional members. Today, the ABC’s public and private partnerships continue to increase its impact in communities across the nation.