Processing Your Payment

Please do not leave this page until complete. This can take a few moments.

March 29, 2024

DPH offering $10M in grants to improve maternal health and morbidity

Photo | Courtesy of UMass Memorial Health Care Jennifer Romanski, a registered nurse at UMass Memorial Health Care, which is adjusting its communication policies to improve maternity outcomes, helps care for a newborn.

State public health officials intend to award $10 million in grants for maternal and reproductive health care initiatives, as the Healey administration looks to combat the worsening rate of severe maternal morbidity that's disproportionately impacting people of color.

The Department of Public Health will distribute the grants over three years, Gov. Maura Healey's office announced Wednesday to coincide with Women's History Month. Proposals are due by May 1, and DPH will prioritize applicants in communities "with the most extreme inequities."

Officials say they are looking for pitches that expand access to prenatal and postpartum services, such as establishing or growing access to remote blood pressure monitoring programs, and integrating doulas into birth teams at hospitals. Other projects could bolster health care infrastructure, including by developing outpatient or inpatient behavioral health treatment programs for parents and infants, improving access to birth centers, and expanding prenatal care at community health centers.

"We hear countless stories from our most marginalized communities about the challenges they experience in accessing quality maternal health care," DPH Commissioner Dr. Robbie Goldstein said in a statement. "This grant represents our commitment to reducing, and ultimately closing, the gap in maternal health disparities we see in the Commonwealth, and it will help us provide every birthing person in the state the care and support essential for a healthy pregnancy."

Healey's office said the grants will help implement strategies that DPH recommended in the fall to curb inequities. Healey had ordered the review of maternal health care services following the controversial closure of Leominster Hospital's maternity ward.

DPH is also seeking workforce development proposals, including offering antiracism and cultural competency training for providers, supporting scholarships for doula training programs, and bolstering access to perinatal mental health screening.

"Many of our most vulnerable communities experience higher levels of maternal health complications – that’s unacceptable," Health and Human Services Secretary Kate Walsh said. "By prioritizing investments in communities with the most extreme inequities, we are tackling these disparities head-on."

Sign up for Enews

WBJ Web Partners


Order a PDF