Convening Healthcare Leaders to Address the Maternal Health Crisis

On Thursday, May 13, the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey and RWJBarnabas Health will convene the 3rd Annual Maternal Health and Perinatal Safety Symposium.  The virtual conference brings together physicians, nurses, public health professionals, and other key leaders for a day of robust presentations and discussion focused on improving maternal care.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the national maternal mortality rate has more than doubled since 1988. While nationally Black women are two to three times more likely than White women to die from pregnancy-related causes, in New Jersey, the disparity in mortality rates is significantly higher. Black women are seven times more likely than White women to die during childbirth or the postpartum phase.

The Symposium aims to address this urgent health crisis with a review of clinical and social issues that contribute to health disparities in maternal care and outline innovative tools for clinical providers. Partnership Trustees Wendy Warren, MD, FACOG, Maternal-Fetal Medicine Specialist at New Jersey Perinatal Associates, LLC of New Jersey Perinatal Associates, and Ernani Sadural, MD Director of Global Health, RWJBarnabas Health and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Women’s Health at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, are the esteemed Co-Chairs of the Symposium Planning Committee.

Dr. Wendy Warren and Dr. Ernani Sadural, Co-Chairs of the Symposium Planning Committee

“Despite advances in maternal health over the past decades, maternal mortality rates continue to climb and disproportionately affect Black and Indigenous women of color,” shared Dr. Sadural. “As providers and advocates for our patients, it is our duty to continue to critically look at the clinical and non-clinical issues behind this urgent health crisis, especially during the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Symposium provides an open forum to discuss these issues and create solutions.”

The conference agenda focuses on the most relevant topics in maternal health and safety, including vaccines and pregnancy, racial disparities in care, perinatal care and obesity, cardiac care, perinatal mood disorders, human trafficking, and the future of telehealth.

“Too many families in our country suffer the tragedy of losing a mother during or after pregnancy. New Jersey is among the states with the highest maternal mortality rates. The Symposium highlights current issues in maternal health with speakers who focus on how we can improve outcomes for women and families,” stated Dr. Warren.

The Symposium highlights the work of leading experts in obstetrics and public health. First Lady Tammy Murphy, who is leading the Nurture NJ strategic plan to improve maternal health outcomes in the state, will participate in the closing address.

Featured speakers include Crystal Clark, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine; Kimberly Fryer, MD, MSCR, Assistant Professor in Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of South Florida; Diana J. Starace, Co-Chair, NJ Coalition Against Human Trafficking (NJCAHT) Healthcare Committee; Geeta K. Swamy, MD, Associate Vice President for Research, Associate Professor, Duke Obstetrics & Gynecology at Duke University; Judy C. Washington, MD, Associate Program Director and Women Health Coordinator Overlook Family Medicine Residency Program at Atlantic Health System; and Diana S. Wolfe, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Women’s Health Associate Professor of Medicine, Cardiology Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine Montefiore Medical Center.

The Partnership wishes to acknowledge our generous Symposium supporters: RWJBarnabas Health, The Nicholson Foundation Family Health Initiatives, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Valley Bank, WellCare, New Jersey Perinatal Associates, and the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of Saint Barnabas Medical Center.

View the full agenda and register here or call 973-268-2280 ext. 100.


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