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Massachusetts AG gives $1.5M grants to reduce maternal health inequities

George Ruiz

Massachusetts is focusing on racial inequities in maternal health with new grants from Attorney General Andrea Campbell's office, and related state legislation.

Berkshire Medical Center and Caring Health Center in Springfield are among 11 organizations sharing$1.5 million from the Attorney General's office.

"This isn't the only money going out from the government to help close the racial maternal health inequities that we understand are far too prevalent in the Commonwealth," said State Senator Jo Comerford of Northampton, who co-chaired a legislative commission on maternal health. "However, it's good money."

She said the 11 new grants are part of a broader effort to address the health gap that Black and Hispanic women face during childbirth, as detailed inrecent public health reports.

"Life threatening conditions such as heart attacks, acute kidney failure, eclampsia, sepsis. That's the danger for moms," Comerford said. "And then there's dangers for babies."

Comerford said she's supporting pending legislation, filed by Massachusetts Senator Liz Miranda of Boston. It would increase access to midwives and doulas and require better reporting on how Black and Hispanic mothers do after childbirth.

"We can't see what we can't measure, and we can't fix what we can't see and measure," said Comerford.

She said the data on inequity is reported statewide but anecdotally she knows the problems exist in western Massachusetts as well as the east.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.