Empowering Health Systems to Lead Change in Maternal Health Equity

April 3, 2023

The National Partnership for Women & Families, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has created a new initiative, Raising the Bar for Maternal Health Equity and Excellence, for hospitals and health systems to take responsibility for change.

The initiative provides healthcare leaders with a clear plan of action to create a birthing experience that supports women’s dignity, personal agency, and bodily autonomy. This comprehensive set of practical tools and resources addresses the four key roles hospitals and health systems play in maternal health equity:

  • Provider – Maternity care providers must be able to offer high-quality, culturally centered whole-person care that responds to birthing families’ context and overall physical, mental, and social well-being.
  • Employer – Healthcare institutions have a crucial opportunity to exemplify best practices in diversifying and supporting a workforce primed to provide high-quality, equitable care that benefits both their staff and their patients.
  • Community Partner – Effective and sustainable strategies and programs require authentic collaboration with those most affected by barriers to good health. To succeed, healthcare provider institutions must strengthen engagement and build trust with their surrounding communities.
  • Advocate – Healthcare provider institutions have power and influence as policy and economic leaders that can help shape better systems and direct resources to advance maternal health equity and community well-being.

The goal here is to ensure every woman, regardless of her background, feels respected and in control during childbirth, without any bias or discrimination. And to accomplish that, Raising the Bar includes a solution-focused report, implementation toolbox, and case studies on success in action.