Racial Disparities in Maternal and Infant Health Read About the Current Status and Efforts to Address Them.

  A new paper from the Kaiser Family Foundation reports on data showing large disparities in maternal and infant health, the factors contributing to these disparities, and recent efforts to reduce them.  Despite continued advancements in medical care, maternal and infant mortality rates in the U.S. are far higher than those in similarly large and wealthy countries, and disparities for people of color have only widened over time.  The brief identifies women who are Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Other Pacific Islanders as those suffering consistently high rates of mortality with outcomes that worsened during the pandemic.  Differences in health insurance coverage and access to care are known factors driving disparities. Less understood, but getting increased attention are significantly higher rates of mistreatment, such as shouting and scolding, and ignoring or refusing requests for help. Current federal efforts include expanded access to Medicaid coverage during the postpartum period and a $350 million investment through HRSA’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau.