UAMS has received a $5 million federal grant for a project aimed at improving maternal and infant health care in Arkansas
The funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will be used to conduct the PeRinatal IMpRovement of Outcomes and Safety for Everyone, or PRIMROSE, project. Work will focus on addressing critical gaps in data systems, health services availability and quality of care to improve outcomes and reduce disparities.
An interdisciplinary team from UAMS and the Arkansas Department of Health will lead activities in the following areas:
- establishing a state maternal health task force 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
- preparing emergency providers in rural areas to respond to obstetric emergencies through simulation training
Arkansas ranks as one of the worst states in America for maternal health. In the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2018 comparison of 26 states with available data, Arkansas had the highest maternal mortality ratio.
Multiple factors contribute to Arkansas’ poor maternal health outcomes, including relatively high rates of poverty and large rural areas with limited obstetric care. Rural populations tend to have worse maternal health outcomes than individuals living in urban areas, and there are disparities experienced by racial and ethnic groups.
“This is an important investment to help Arkansas become the healthiest place to give birth in the region,” Dr. Nirvana Manning, medical director for the PRIMROSE project, said in a news release.