WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Health Foundation has awarded $6.6 million in grants to Massachusetts General Hospital, American Heart Association and March of Dimes to remove barriers to maternal health services, bridge the gap to quality care and expand the doula workforce to reflect the communities it serves, the company said Thursday.
Each grant will be focused on improving maternal health outcomes for historically marginalized communities by addressing the conditions most often associated with maternal mortality and severe morbidity.
“Black women have a maternal mortality rate 2.6 times higher than White women, and studies continue to show that over 80% of maternal deaths in the U.S. could have been preventable,” said Sheryl Burke, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and chief sustainability officer, CVS Health. “By collaborating locally with organizations who know the community best, we are working to diversify the doula workforce and bring maternal health services and educational resources to the people that need it most.”
To advance maternal health equity, the CVS Health Foundation is working with:
Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)
The CVS Health Foundation awarded MGH $1.66 million over three years to support the Mass General Brigham (MGB) DrEaMH (Driving Equity and Maternal Health outcomes) Initiative. This effort will expand the MGB Birth Partners Program and launch the Maternal Health Equity Postpartum Program in Suffolk County. The programs aim to meet people where they are by delivering maternal health services through a mobile van and increasing access to doula care for people who are most likely to have adverse pregnancy outcomes during their third trimester and 12 weeks post-birth.
“To promote maternal health equity, we need to offer perinatal and postpartum services in a manner that is most accessible during and immediately after birth. These resources can set families up for a lifetime of physical and mental wellbeing and are vital to ensuring health equity in underserved populations,” said Elsie Taveras, MD, MPH, chief community health and health equity officer for Mass General Brigham. “The CVS Health Foundation’s generous gift will allow us at Mass General’s Kraft Center for Community Health to continue as an important innovation hub for testing, evaluating and scaling new community health programs that if successful, can be adopted throughout MGB, our region and nation.”
March of Dimes
The CVS Health Foundation awarded $4 million over five years to support March of Dimes’ work to expand doula care regionally, diversify the doula workforce and provide educational materials to consumers and health care providers that highlight the benefits of doula care. The doulas will focus on providing physical, emotional and informational support to pregnant people and their partners before, during and after childbirth. March of Dimes is actively researching where this program will have the greatest impact and will select six locations later this year to implement it.
“We are excited to work with CVS Health Foundation to further our shared commitment to advance doula services and increase equitable access to maternity care. Doulas compliment the clinical care families receive on their pregnancy journey and help navigate the maternity care experience with greater levels of confidence,” said Dr. Elizabeth Cherot, president and CEO at March of Dimes. “Through this partnership, we anticipate that there will be more doulas in the workforce across the U.S. and more patients accessing maternity care support through them.”
American Heart Association
The CVS Health Foundation awarded the American Heart Association $1 million over two years to help address hypertension, which is a key risk factor in the most common killer of new mothers. The program will link women and health care providers to hypertension education, monitoring and treatment during pregnancy and postpartum. It will use strategies, including doula-mediated referrals, to increase the percentage of Black birthing persons with controlled hypertensive disorders during pregnancy and postpartum in Hampton Roads, Virginia and Orlando, Fla.
“The American Heart Association is proud to continue to deepen the impact of our work with CVS Health to improve the cardiovascular health of all women,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer, American Heart Association. “Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of new moms. Addressing the maternal health crisis in our country is at a critical point. By meeting new mothers where they are and using culturally relevant resources and messengers to address hypertension, we are helping women have healthier pregnancies which will improve the lifelong health of both moms and their babies.”