• Family Physicians Recognize Black Maternal Health Week and Commend HHS for Actions to Improve Maternal Health Access

    Thursday, April 15, 2021

    Statement attributable to:
    Ada D. Stewart, MD
    American Academy of Family Physicians

    “Black Maternal Health Week is a time to reflect on our commitment to advancing maternal health equity. The United States continues to have some of the worst maternal health outcomes in the developed world, and Black women are nearly three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than white women.

    “The United States is the only industrialized nation where maternal deaths are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 700 pregnancy-related deaths occur in the U.S. each year and 60 percent of these deaths are preventable. Family physicians are well positioned to address the root causes as they are trained to provide comprehensive care including prenatal, perinatal and postpartum care for patients in the communities where they live.

    “Family physicians see firsthand the unique barriers that our patients of color and rural residents face, and the AAFP has consistently advocated for policymakers to address our nation’s maternal health crisis. We are concerned that the COVID-19 pandemic may be further exacerbating inequities in maternal health for Black mothers.

    “The American Academy of Family Physicians commends the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for taking actions to improve equitable access to maternal health services. We also appreciate the work of the Congressional Black Maternal Health Caucus to raise awareness about the maternal health crisis in our country.

    “The AAFP is committed to educating physicians about inequities in maternal morbidity and mortality and supports strategies that integrate birth equity into the delivery of family-centered maternity care. We are committed to working with the administration and Congress to build on these actions and improve maternal health outcomes for all people. We can and must do better for our patients.”

    Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with Dr. Stewart, contact Janelle Davis, (913) 912-0377, or jdavis@aafp.org.



    Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 133,500 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the largest medical society devoted solely to primary care. Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.  To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.familydoctor.org.