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Congressman Mike Quigley

Representing the 5th District of Illinois

Quigley Convenes Doctors, Researches & Advocates for Discussion on Maternal Mortality in Illinois & Across the Country

Sep 20, 2018
Press Release

CHICAGO – In response to the nation’s growing rate of maternal deaths, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) convened medical professionals and advocates for a roundtable discussion on maternal health and what needs to be done to better protect new mothers.

“We owe it to women and families everywhere to work together to understand the root causes of this crisis and improve our ability to identify and implement effective solutions that will help save lives,” said Rep. Quigley. “The $2 million I was able to secure to advance CDC’s maternal death research is a step in the right direction, but it is not enough to solve the problem. I thank all of those in attendance today who are leading the charge to improve reporting methods, collect additional data, and expand maternal mortality review committees that are dedicated to protecting the most vulnerable.”

More American women are dying of pregnancy-related complications than any other country in the developed world, and only in the United States is the rate of death actually rising. According to the United Health Foundation, the average rate of maternal deaths in Illinois in 2017 was approximately 16 deaths for every 100,000 births.

“Illinois is home to one of the longest standing Maternal Mortality Review Committees and has been nationally recognized for its work,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Director Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “The committee has spent years reviewing maternal deaths in order to understand the causes and potential solutions to preventing these deaths in the future. With recommendations forthcoming from the committee, the State of Illinois will continue to work with health care providers, community organizations, advocacy groups, hospitals, and others to reduce maternal deaths.”

The roundtable discussion, attended by the below participants, focused on the causes and solutions for the rising number of maternal deaths in the United States. The participants provided updates on the efforts being taken at the state level to support maternal health, including the work being done by Illinois’ Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC), as well discussed federal legislative action that Congress should take to help save lives.

·         Nirav D. Shah, MD, JD; Director, Illinois Department of Public Health

·         Robin Jones, MD; Obstetrician, Rush University; Chair, Maternal Mortality Review Committee

·         Gary Loy, Professor and Vice-Chair Dept of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Rush University Medical College

·         Shirley Scott, MS, RN-BC, C-EFM, APN; Perinatal Network Administrator, University of Illinois Hospital and Health Science Systems

·         Michael Socol, MD; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine

·         Paula J. Melone, DO, FACOG; Assistant Professor, OB/GYN, Rush University Medical Center

·         Deborah Anne Boyle, MD; Maternal Fetal Medicine, Co-director, Administrative Perinatal Center University of Chicago

·         Joan E. Briller, MD, FACC, FASE, FAHA; Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Illinois at Chicago; Director of the Women and Heart Program

·         Abigail Koch, MA; Senior Research Specialist, Center for Research on Women and Gender UIC College of Medicine

“Pregnancy-related mortality ratios are four times higher for Black women compared to White women in the United States. This is astounding,” said Dr. Robin L. Jones, Chair of the Illinois Maternal Mortality Review Committee. “The data reveals this gap is the result of more than just access to health care services.  Through the work of the Committee, we have found that factors such as health literacy, poverty, employment, housing, availability of childcare, and quality of education all deeply affect a woman’s ability to be healthy.  This Committee is essential in reducing maternal deaths and improving the health of women.”

In July, Rep. Quigley successfully secured $2 million in funding for the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s (CDC) efforts in preventing maternal deaths through state-based Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRC). The funding will allow the CDC to more accurately collect data surrounding maternal deaths, as well as those births that result in life-threatening complications. It is currently estimated that 700-900 women die annually from child birth complications, however, the numbers are approximate in large part because reporting data is incomplete and not-federally mandated. Approximately thirty-five states, including Illinois, currently have an established MMRC, and this new funding is intended to continue scaling CDC’s partnership with states to establish and expand these committees.