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UAMS receives $5 million grant to help reduce disparities in maternal and infant health

Arkansas ranks third in the nation for pregnancy-related deaths.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' five-year grant was given to improve and develop maternal and infant care throughout Arkansas. 

According to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), roughly 700 women die each year during pregnancy or in the year after. 

Arkansas ranks third in the nation for pregnancy-related deaths. According to a recent report, those deaths are disproportionately impacting Black mothers. 

The Arkansas Maternal Mortality Review Committee released a new report breaking down the numbers.

"Multiple factors contribute to Arkansas’ poor maternal health outcomes, including relatively high rates of poverty and large rural areas with limited obstetric care," said UAMS' news release announcing the grant

The grant will be used to conduct the "PeRinatal IMpRovement of Outcomes and Safety for Everyone" (PRIMROSE) project. 

“The PRIMROSE project will address critical gaps in data systems, health services availability and quality of care to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce disparities in Arkansas,” said Jennifer Callaghan-Koru, Ph.D., associate professor at UAMS and the project’s director.

UAMS along with the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) will lead activities for the PRIMROSE project in the following areas:

  • establishing a state maternal health taskforce and strategic plan;
  • strengthening data systems for maternal health surveillance
  • contributing to regionalization of perinatal care;
  • supporting patient engagement in quality improvement;
  • delivering evidence-based group prenatal care to disproportionately-impacted patients in maternity care deserts; and
  • preparing emergency providers in rural areas to respond to obstetric emergencies through simulation training.

There will also be an evaluation of the implementation and outcomes of innovations and add data to an "evidence base" with the goal of reducing maternal mortality. 

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