Addressing Maternal Mortality

Activity description

More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than in any other developed country. African American, Native American and Alaska Native women are about three times more likely to die from causes related to pregnancy compared to white women in the U.S. Both societal and health system factors contribute to unacceptably poor maternal health outcomes related to pregnancy and childbirth. Addressing implicit bias (the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions and decisions in an unconscious manner) is critical in reducing these disparities.

This activity will provide the facts on maternal mortality, discuss the impact of implicit bias on these statistics and how these biases can be addressed, and review how health care providers can address these persistent racial disparities.

Additional Resources:

Implicit Bias Test

Racial/Ethnic Disparities in Pregnancy-Related Deaths - United States, 2007-2016

Provided by
This activity is provided by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealth Group.

Commercial support
No commercial support was received for this activity.
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Target Audience

This activity is designed to meet the educational needs of case managers, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, PAs, physicians, psychologists and social workers who have an interest in learning how to address maternal mortality.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this educational activity, participants should be able to:

  • State the facts and statistics on maternal mortality
  • Discuss the role of hospitals and providers in addressing maternal mortality 
  • Identify the impact of implicit bias on the disproportionate number of pregnancy-related deaths among minority women as well as factors that can be addressed to solve this issue
Activity summary
Available credit: 
  • 1.50 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.50 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.50 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.50 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.50 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.50 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.50 CCMC - General - Case Managers
  • 1.50 ASWB - Social Workers
Activity opens: 
Activity expires: 
Dr. Linda GenenLinda Genen, MD, MPH
Senior Research Fellow, Maternal Child Health
United Health Group Research and Development
Julie Zaharatos, MPH
Partnerships and Resources Lead
Maternal Mortality Prevention Team 
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Division of Reproductive Health
Dr. Cheryl FranklinCheryl Franklin, MD, MPH, FACOG
Adjunct Clinical Professor
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Morehouse School of Medicine
Medical Director
Morehouse Healthcare
Dr. Lisa WaddellLisa Waddell, MD, MPH
Senior Vice President
Maternal Child Health and NICU Innovation
Deputy Medical Officer
March of Dimes

Linda Genen, MD, MPH, serves as a Senior Research Fellow at UHG Research and Development engaged in the Maternal Child Health space. Dr. Genen earned a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry and graduated with honors from Wellesley College. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the State University of New York – Downstate Medical Center. She completed her pediatric residency at Columbia Presbyterian Babies and Children’s Hospital and her neonatology fellowship at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital. Dr. Genen became interested in clinical research and attended the Yale School of Public Health during her fellowship, where she earned a master’s degree in public health focusing on evidenced based medicine. Dr. Genen remains clinically active as a neonatologist at Northwell Cohen Children’s Hospital and is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Hofstra University Medical School. Dr. Genen continues to be engaged in clinical research, publishing and reviewing for several pediatrics journals. She was recently selected to serve in the inaugural committee of American Academy of Pediatrics Women in Neonatology promoting female leadership in the realm of Neonatology. Additionally, she is interested in technology applications that will help members acquire timely appropriate services. She is engaged in the UHG Research and Development division and serves as the Principal Investigator on several studies sponsored by UHG. Currently she serves on the MCG Advisory Board, UHG Physician Executive Board and is a liaison for UHG on the American College of Preventative Medicine Corporate Board.

Julie Zaharatos, MPH, works with stakeholders around the country to promote better understanding of the causes and factors contributing to maternal deaths. For the past three years, she has supported the development of maternal mortality review committees and contributed to the Report from Nine Maternal Mortality Review Committees and the recent articles Examination of a Death Due to Cardiomyopathy by a Maternal Mortality Review Committee and Changing the Conversation: Applying a Health Equity Framework to Maternal Mortality Reviews. As part of the CDC’s Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM) initiative, Ms. Zaharatos provides technical assistance and problem solving for state-specific needs. She received her Master's of Public Health degree from Hunter College, and she also holds a Bachelor's degree in anthropology.  She previously served as the Maternal and Child Health Program Director for the March of Dimes Georgia Chapter and served as a member of the Georgia Maternal Mortality Review Committee from 2014–2016.

Cheryl G. Franklin, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) and is a practicing gynecologist with Morehouse Healthcare (MHC). Dr. Franklin seeks to address some of the nation’s health disparities, especially those which disproportionately affect African American women. She has designed and collaborated with interdisciplinary, interagency community projects which hold the promise to positively impact health disparities and the systems and policies which create them. From 2013–2019, Dr. Franklin served as medical director of MHC and focused on coordinating the delivery of multispecialty healthcare services. 

Dr. Franklin is an alumnus of Stanford University, Columbia University School of Public Health, and the Harvard University School of Medicine. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Morehouse Choice Accountable Care Organization and Education System, a statewide collaboration of community-based health care partners. Dr. Franklin is the immediate past medical director of MHC, where she represented the medical professional staff and partnered with the clinical operations team to deliver multispecialty care at MHC’s largest and most diverse ambulatory care facility. She also represented MSM on the Group on Faculty Practice at the Association of American Medical Colleges. Dr. Franklin is a member of the Atlanta Medical Association, the National Medical Association, the American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Medical Group Management Association, the Magnolia Chapter of the Links, Inc., and the Ebenezer Baptist Church. She engages the Atlanta community on the Advisory Board for the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential and the CARE, USA Women’s Network Advisory Committee. She has served on the national Board of Directors for the Women’s Funding Network in San Francisco, CA; the Physician Relations Council of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Georgia; the Affiliate Medical Committee of Planned Parenthood of Georgia and the Boards of Directors of GCAPP and Amerigroup Georgia.  

Lisa Waddell, MD, MPH, is a preventive medicine and public health physician with over 28 years of local, state and national public health leadership experience. She has a passion for maternal and child health and is proud to be helping lead the fight for healthy women and moms and strong babies. Currently, Dr. Waddell serves as the Deputy Chief Medical and Health Officer and the Senior Vice President for Maternal and Child Health Impact for the March of Dimes nationwide. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization that was founded by former president Franklin Delano Roosevelt and has an 80-plus-year history of fighting for the health of infants and children. In her current role, Dr. Waddell provides leadership and strategic direction to a team of subject matter experts charged with consumer and professional information for pregnant women, new moms and families. Her work focuses on the most pressing issues impacting moms and infants today: maternal mortality and morbidity, preterm birth, infant mortality and achieving health equity.

Prior to joining the March of Dimes, Dr. Waddell worked with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials as their Chief of Community Health and Prevention. In this capacity, she provided public health leadership and technical expertise on policies and programs to the chief state health officials across the United States and the U.S. Territories. Prior to moving into her national roles, Dr. Waddell served as the Deputy Commissioner for Health Services for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (known as DHEC), which is the state’s public health agency.

Dr. Waddell earned her Bachelor's degree in biology from the University of Virginia and a Master of Public Health with a concentration in health policy and administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She obtained her medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia and later completed her residency in preventive medicine and public health there as well. She is board certified in preventive medicine and public health. She is a graduate of the National Public Health Leadership Institute and has earned numerous awards and recognitions for her work in the field of public health.

Activity planners
Sarah Chart, RN
Vice President
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Rebecca Gleason, RN, CCM
Activity Manager
OptumHealth Education
Eden Prairie, MN

Disclosures of relevant financial relationships
In accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM, OptumHealth Education requires all those in the control of activity content to disclose their relevant financial relationships. An individual has a relevant financial relationship if such person (or his/her spouse/partner) has a financial relationship in any amount occurring in the last 12 months with a commercial interest whose products or services relate to the activity content.

OptumHealth Education ensures that the content is independent of commercial bias.

Ms. Chart and Ms. Gleason have indicated that they are employees of and own stock in UnitedHealth Group.

The remaining activity faculty or planners have no financial relationships to disclose.

Method for calculating CE credit
CE credit was calculated by the complexity of content.

Accreditation statement
Joint Accreditation logoIn support of improving patient care, this activity has been planned and implemented by OptumHealth Education and UnitedHealth Group. OptumHealth Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to provide continuing education for the health care team.

Credit designation statements
IPCE logoThis activity was planned by and for the health care team, and learners will receive 1.50 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credits for learning and change.

The participant will be awarded up to 1.50 contact hour(s) of credit for attendance and completion of supplemental materials.

Nurse practitioners
The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Program (AANPCP) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME and ANCC.

Pharmacists/Pharmacy technicians
This activity is approved for 1.50 contact hour ([0.15] CEU) in states that recognize ACPE.
Attending the full program will earn 1.50 contact hour.
Unique Activity Number(s): JA0007123-9999-20-151-H04-P/T

OptumHealth Education designates this enduring activity for a maximum of 1.50 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

The American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) accepts credit from organizations accredited by the ACCME.

Case managers
The Commission for Case Manager Certification has approved this program for a maximum of 1.50 clock hours for Certified Case Managers (CCM).

OptumHealth Education is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to offer continuing education for psychologists. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this program. 1.50 CE hour.

Social workers
ACE logoAs a Jointly Accredited Organization, OptumHealth Education is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. OptumHealth Education maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 1.50 live continuing education credits.

Counselors and/or marriage and family therapists 
CA: The Board of Behavioral Sciences has deferred CE course approvals to APA and ASWB for its licensees. See those approvals under Psychologists and Social Workers.
Other States: If your state is not specifically listed, nearly all state Counselor and MFT boards accept either APA or ASWB approval, or are reciprocal with other state licensing board approvals, such as those listed below. Check with your board to be sure.

A certificate of attendance will be provided to learners upon completion of activity requirements, enabling participants to register with licensing boards or associations that have not been preapproved for credits. To apply for credit types not listed above, participants should use the procedure established by the specific organization from which they wish to obtain credit.

Available Credit

  • 1.50 ACPE - Pharmacists
  • 1.50 ACPE - Pharmacy Technicians
  • 1.50 AMA - Physicians
  • 1.50 ANCC - Nurses
  • 1.50 APA - Psychologists
  • 1.50 Attendance - General Attendance
  • 1.50 CCMC - General - Case Managers
  • 1.50 ASWB - Social Workers
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Fees: There are no fees for participating in or receiving credit for this activity.

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