Washington, D.C. (March 1, 2023) – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) will soon better understand the impact of toxic stress on pregnancy by engaging Black women with lived experiences, thanks to a funding award from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). Black women have a higher prevalence of maternal mental health conditions, particularly postpartum depression and anxiety, leading to underreported and often unaddressed serious complications and adverse outcomes for mothers, babies and the entire family. ACHP is committed to improving maternal health outcomes and equity as part of its commitment to measurably impact the drivers of chronic disease.
“Launching this project at the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month is fitting,” remarked Ceci Connolly, ACHP’s president and CEO. “Too often our Black neighbors continue to experience challenges of access and equity through every phase of life, particularly in health. Looking ahead, we recognize the strength and resilience of women, despite the odds often being against them, during Women’s History Month. ACHP looks forward to learning from Black women who are leaders in their communities and experts on the true drivers of maternal and mental health equity – because they live them every day. ACHP is thankful for the confidence PCORI has given us as we embark upon this work.”
ACHP is grateful to Kay Matthews, founder and executive director of the Shades of Blue Project, for agreeing to lead the steering committee for this project. “Improving maternal health outcomes requires a focus on maternal mental health,” emphasizes Matthews. “That is not optional, and I am very pleased to be partnering with ACHP to prioritize crucial areas in which health plans and others in the industry can accelerate their efforts to achieve an integrated, holistic approach to the maternal health and mental health needs of people in communities like mine.”
ACHP will convene multiple stakeholders, including health plans, research institutes, consumer groups, provider groups, government leaders and others to translate the priorities developed by Black women for Black women into an actionable research agenda that will guide future research.
The PCORI funding award is part of ACHP’s contribution to creating an equitable health care system and builds on its recent work as part of the Robert Wood John Foundation-funded “Raising the Bar” initiative, which created a framework for health care organizations to advance equity in care delivery.
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