Merck for Mothers Continues to Advance Maternal Health Equity

In a nation where Black women are disproportionately impacted by maternal mortality; Merck for Mothers has committed to understanding women’s experiences in order to improve the quality of maternity care. In its Evidence for Impact 2020 Research Compendium, it was found that: 1) racism and discrimination influence perceptions of respect and overall quality of care; 2) fragmented health care systems make it difficult to build patient-provider trust; and 3) patient-centered approaches need to be more sensitive to patient needs to ensure dignity and respect.

The Safer Childbirth Cities Initiative, founded in 2018, seeks to be a catalyst for the focused, locally-tailored engagement needed to bring community resources together to strengthen health systems for all to help women have healthy pregnancies, safe childbirths and life-long well-being. The program has expanded rapidly, and Merck recently announced that the newest grant is the 20th community-led project to be funded. The money is going to the Austin Community Foundation as a fiscal sponsor for the Black Mamas Community Collective, which supports a project to directly tackle racial inequities in maternal health outcomes and increase access to quality care for Black mothers and their families in Austin, TX.

Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer of Merck and a member of the Healthcare Leadership Council, stated in the press release, “Elevating Black and other historically marginalized voices, community leadership and local health solutions is a fundamental part of helping to reverse the health inequity that has persisted across the U.S. and globally.”

The Healthcare Leadership Council continues to work with its members on the systemic problem of health disparities and proudly promotes the efforts of each member organization to drive change and improve health experiences and outcomes.