March of Dimes is pleased to announce an expansion of its long-standing partnership with Elevance Health Foundation, thanks to a $2.3 million grant. The funds will help March of Dimes expand upon its bi-annual maternity care desert report to provide a deeper understanding of the local factors that impact access to maternity care in the United States.
“With the U.S. ranking among the most dangerous nations for childbirth, especially for women and babies of color, the need to close the health equity gap and improve access in our country is urgent,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “We thank our long-standing partners at Elevance Health Foundation for funding this expansion of our maternity care deserts report so that together, we can identify specific and targeted local solutions to provide specialized services in areas with little or no access to maternity care.”
March of Dimes’ most recent report, entitled Nowhere to Go: Maternity Care Deserts Across the U.S. found that seven million American women of childbearing age, 35 percent of which are women of color, live in counties without access or with severely limited access to vital maternity care. The 2020 report showcases the maternity care desert status of all counties across the U.S. based on the most recent data showing the availability of hospitals, birth centers, obstetric providers and health insurance. Without access to routine, quality health care, moms and babies have an increased risk of serious health complications, including maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, as well as low birth weight and preterm labor.
This October, March of Dimes will release an updated report identifying counties where a woman’s access to maternity health services may be limited or absent. Supplemental reports on the availability of maternal care in all 50 states, as well as Washington D.C and Puerto Rico, will be released in April 2023 and are made possible thanks to the additional funding from Elevance Health Foundation.
“Fueled by our commitment to address health disparities, our work with March of Dimes is driven by advancing equity in maternal healthcare, removing barriers to care, and ensuring every family has the best possible start,” said Shantanu Agrawal, M.D., Chief Health Officer of Elevance Health. “Since 2010, we have supported the organization in the fight for the health of all moms and babies, contributing more than $10 million to programs aimed at reducing premature births, improving maternal health and advancing health equity.”
About Elevance Health Foundation
Elevance Health Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Elevance Health, Inc. The Foundation works to advance health equity by focusing on improving the health of the socially vulnerable through partnerships and programs in our communities with an emphasis on maternal child health; substance use disorder; and food as medicine. Through its key areas of focus, the Foundation also strategically aligns with Elevance Health’s focus on community health and becoming a lifetime, trusted health partner that is fueled by its purpose to improve the health of humanity. Website: elevancehealth.foundation