Keeping Current @ the Capitol: Maternal Mortality Study Committee, Meeting Two


The second convening of the House Maternal Mortality Study Committee (MMSC) was held October 17 at 1:00PM. The MMSC is chaired by Chairwoman Sharon Cooper (Marietta) and Chairman Mark Newton (Augusta). Legislative members of the MMSC include Representatives Chuck Efstration (Dacula), Deborah Silcox (Sandy Springs), Darlene Taylor (Thomasville), Carolyn Hugley (Columbus), and Valencia Stovall (Forest Park). Dr. Chad Ray and Dr. Jane Ellis also serve as citizen members of the MMSC.

The meeting centered on the work being done by academic centers and institutions to address Georgia’s maternal mortality crisis. To watch a recording of the meeting visit here. Below is a summary of initiatives being implemented at Mercer University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University, and Emory University.

Mercer University

Jean R. Sumner, MD, – Dean, School of Medicine at Mercer University

Jacob C. Warren, PhD, MBA – Rufus C. Harris Endowed Chair; Director of the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities; Associate Professor, Community Medicine, School of Medicine at Mercer University

  • Rural health centers have been established to provide a variety of services including women’s health. Current centers have been developed in Plains/Sumter and Peach County, and a center in Clay County is set to open in early 2020.
  • The Georgia Rural Health Innovation Center addresses maternal health by increasing access to OB and GYN services, strengthening postpartum care delivery, and implementing violence prevention strategies.
  • South Georgia Healthy Start will serve seven rural counties to eliminate disparities in maternal and infant mortality through seven activities:
    • Clinical care
    • Case management
    • Health education
    • Community engagement
    • Workforce development
    • Policy change
    • Research

Morehouse School of Medicine

Valerie Montgomery Rice, MD, FACOG – President and Dean, Morehouse School of Medicine

  • Cultural competency is consistently incorporated into the Morehouse School of Medicine’s program to address implicit bias and improve knowledge on the social determinants of health that affect maternal health outcomes.
  • The Center of Excellence on Maternal Mortality will address the crisis in a number of ways:
    • Implement a statewide assessment on “Near Miss” obstetric events and maternal deaths
    • Train providers and students on comorbidities contributing to maternal mortality, and implement best practices/safety bundles
    • Engage local communities on maternal mortality and train community health workers

Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Chad Ray, MD – Interim Section Chief, OBGYN; Associate Professor, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

Doug Miller, MD – Vice Dean; Professor, Medical College of Georgia at Augusta University

  • The Medical College of Georgia addresses maternal health by focusing on rural health, health disparities, workforce development, cardiovascular disease, and obesity.
  • The Georgia Center for Obstetrics Re-Entry Program (GA CORP) provides a pathway mechanism for physicians to re-enter the field of obstetrics, thus increasing access to needed obstetrical services. Since 2016, the program has had seven graduates, who are now practicing across the State.
  • Cardiovascular disease is a major contributor to maternal mortality in Georgia. A study is being conducted to assess the sex hormone progesterone as it relates to race and risk of cardiovascular disease.

Emory University

Denise J. Jamieson, MD, MPH – Chair of the Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics for Emory Healthcare

  • Emory University has been instrumental in implementing the GaPQC AIM bundles to improve infant and maternal health.
  • Practitioners have begun to collect information on the social determinants of health from patients to better understand how these factors affect health outcomes.
  • Emory’s certified nurse-midwifery program has trained about 500 nurse-midwives, about half of which have remained in Georgia, contributing to the maternal healthcare provider workforce.

The next Maternal Mortality Study Committee meeting will be held November 7 at 1:00PM. Committee agendas, public announcements, and speaker presentations can be found here.