NJMS & University Hospital Observe Maternal Health Awareness Day

Did you know that more than 60% of maternal deaths are preventable? On January 23, New Jersey observes "Maternal Health Awareness Day" to shed light on the need for comprehensive care and solutions.

New Jersey was the first state to formally recognize Maternal Health Awareness Day. However, according to the most recent data available, New Jersey ranks 47th nationwide for maternal health outcomes. The maternal mortality rate is significantly higher for women of color.

Dr. Joseph Apuzzio, professor and vice chair of obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive health, director of maternal fetal medicine, and professor of radiology at NJMS, is spearheading plans for a virtual event from 2:55 to 5 p.m. on January 27, which will mark the fourth annual observance of Maternal Health Day (MHAD) in New Jersey.

Dr. Apuzzio has a long history with MHAD, having served as the chair of the New Jersey Maternal Mortality Case Review Team.

"The goal of Maternal Health Awareness Day is to inform all stakeholders of maternal health issues in order to recognize the challenges, prevent maternal morbidity and mortality and to create opportunities for improvement to decrease maternal morbidity and mortality rates," Dr. Apuzzio explained. "Stakeholders include not just obstetrical service providers and hospitals, but also others who may be involved in the care of pregnant or postpartum patient, including the patient herself and her family, our legislators who promulgate regulations and laws concerning the health care of pregnant and postpartum patients, and the insurance payors who determine reimbursements."

This year's Maternal Health Awareness Day event will feature a number of esteemed speakers, including presentations by: Dr. Mark Einstein, professor and chair of the department of obstetrics, gynecology & reproductive health at NJMS, Dr. Shereef Elnahal, president & CEO of University Hospital, United States Senator Cory Booker, and Senator Joseph F. Vitale, Legislative District 19 and chair of the N.J. State Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

After opening remarks are delivered by Drs. Einstein and Elnahal, virtual participants will have the opportunity to observe five educational panels spanning a wide variety of related topics including:

  • "Call to Action to Prevent Maternal Morbidity" led by United States Surgeon General Vice Admiral Dr. Jerome Adams
  • "National Priorities for Maternal Health Care" led by United States Senator Cory Booker
  • "The Equity Birth Plan" led by Dr. Lisa Gittens Williams, NJMS
  • "Strategies for Successful Care for Pregnant and Postpartum Women of Color" led by Dr. Joia Crear Perry, CEO National Birth Equity Collaborative
  • "Recent Trends from the New Jersey Maternal Mortality Review Committee" led by Dr. Joseph J. Apuzzio, NJMS

"Each speaker is passionate about improving maternal health, each in a different way and through a different process," Dr. Apuzzio added. "There needs to be a multifaceted approach to improve maternal morbidity and mortality in New Jersey and throughout the United States."

To join the virtual event on January 27, utilize the Zoom login info listed below. No advance registration is required. The event is free and open to the public.

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://rutgers.zoom.us/j/97634443611?pwd=RFdFRGN2TjlMNVlVU0VtUDdITWV aUT09
Meeting ID: 976 3444 3611
Password: MFM202