22 Aug The Medical College of Wisconsin was selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be a Maternal Health Research Center of Excellence
The Medical College of Wisconsin was selected by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to be a Maternal Health Research Center of Excellence. This groundbreaking initiative is an integral part of the NIH’s larger vision, known as the Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative. This is an initiative to support research to reduce pregnancy-related complications and deaths and promote maternal health equity.
This landmark grant is led by four MCW investigators, Dr. Anna Palatnik in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Joni Williams in the Center for Advancing Population Science, and Drs. Julia-Dickson Gomez and Jessica Olson in the Institute for Health & Equity. Several MCW faculty will be part of the center as co-investigators. In addition, several community partners will be integral part of the center and will guide research projects conducted by the center.
Our two main partners for this award include the African American Breastfeeding Network with Director Dalvery Blackwell, and the Social Development Commission with Director George Hinton and Research and Policy Manager Jennifer Harris. Additional instrumental community partners for MCW center of excellence include Acts Housing, Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee, UW-Milwaukee, UW-Madison, Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, Alverno College, United Community Center, Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, and an important healthcare partner, Froedtert Hospital. This partnership will develop and evaluate interventions to address social-structural risk factors for racial disparities in maternal health in Southeastern Wisconsin identified by our research community and community partners. These risk factors include housing instability and medical mistrust. In addition, MCW Center of Excellence will train a diverse group of early-stage scientists in maternal health equity research with a focus on community-engaged research and clinical trials involving birthing people.
“The overarching goal of the MCW Research Center is to Address key Social-structural risk factors for raCial disparities in matErNal morbiDity in Southeastern Wisconsin- the name of our center is ASCEND WI. As healthcare providers, we know that health is more than what happens in the doctor’s office or hospital. It is estimated that clinical care accounts for only about 20% of overall health. Where one lives, learns, and works has a much greater impact on length and quality of life, but not everyone lives in a place that affords them the opportunity to reach their full potential. MCW is in Milwaukee, WI, the largest city in Southeastern WI, and one of the most segregated cities in the U.S., with striking disparities in maternal and infant health. Black women in Wisconsin are nearly 8 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than Hispanic women and 5 times more than White women. Working in partnership with our community partners and policymakers, we will ensure that the results of our center of excellence sustainably eradicate maternal health disparities in Southeastern Wisconsin, and beyond.”