Racism and social injustice perpetuate a violent cycle that includes inequities in maternal and infant health. As our nation grapples with issues of social injustice, we at CMQCC acknowledge our past misalignment of strategies to address birth equity and are committed to furthering our understanding of structural racism and health inequities. Our mission at CMQCC is to end preventable morbidity, mortality and racial disparities in maternity care, and our work will continue until the gap in maternal health outcomes is closed.
CMQCC has adopted the definition of birth equity put forward by Joia Adele Crear-Perry, MD, Founder and President of the National Birth Equity Collaborative: “The assurance of the conditions of optimal births for all people with a willingness to address racial and social inequities in a sustained effort.”
Since 2008, California’s maternal mortality rate has declined by 55 percent while the national maternal mortality rate has continued to rise. Despite this reduction, Black and Indigenous women experience 3-to-4 times the rates of maternal mortality, and these inequities are directly attributable to systemic racism and bias. We also continue to observe substantial racial/ethnic variation in maternal outcomes as shown in our Maternal Data Center.
Optimizing the quality of perinatal care is impossible without equity in care delivery. CMQCC is committed to centering birth equity through the following actions:
- Prioritize reducing inequities within all CMQCC activities and promote projects that actively support anti-racist practices
- Engage with external partners to advance our equity work
- Amplify the voices of birthing persons in maternal equity and quality initiatives, especially BIPOC voices
- Develop and provide guidance to hospitals on interpretation and use of race/ethnicity data within CMQCC’s Maternal Data Center
- Critically examine CMQCC task force and committee compositions with the goal of diverse and inclusive representation
- Incorporate supportive, equitable and respectful care in our toolkits and quality improvement work
- Integrate equity into collaborative research processes
- Continue internal learning about structural, institutional, and interpersonal racism in maternity care and apply these insights to our work as an organization toward creating a more equitable care model for maternal health