265: Maternal Health Crisis Blueprint

Dr. Jamila Perritt, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, discusses the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis; Emma Talkington, ASTHO Environmental Health Analyst, explains why ASTHO has released a...


Dr. Jamila Perritt, President and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, discusses the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis; Emma Talkington, ASTHO Environmental Health Analyst, explains why ASTHO has released a proclamation calling attention to the work agencies have done to ensure safe onsite wastewater treatment systems; and Anna Bradley, State Health Improvement Plan Coordinator for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, discusses her work to incorporate health equity into her department’s plans. 

White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health Crisis Webpage

United States Environmental Protection Agency Webpage: SepticSmart Week

ASTHO logo

Transcript

ROBERT JOHNSON:

This is Public Health Review Morning Edition for Monday, September 19th, 2022. I'm Robert Johnson.

Now, today's news from the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.

 

JAMILA PERRITT:

Well, let me start by saying that the blueprint is really a good start and those of us who have been advocating and organizing in support of addressing the maternal health crisis in this country are really happy to see that the White House is beginning to take steps to address this critical issue.

JOHNSON:

Dr. Jamila Perritt, president and CEO of Physicians for Reproductive Health, on the White House Blueprint for Addressing the Maternal Health crisis.

PERRITT:

So, it's really laid out with sort of five overarching goals, and these goals are really working to center those that are most marginalized from care to make care, delivery more equitable and accessible for those who need it.

JOHNSON:

Perritt says the blueprint's goals include the need to increase access to quality maternal care and ensure that those giving birth are empowered to make decisions about their care.

PERRITT:

This blueprint also lays out the need for community-level indicators of wellness that may not be captured in these current models. There's really importantly a goal around expanding and diversifying the perinatal workforce. This is particularly critical for BIPOC folks—so Black, Indigenous, and other people of color—because we know that interactions and care provided by our colleagues who are midwives and nurse practitioners and doulas and perinatal birth workers actually improves outcomes for our communities.

JOHNSON:

The White House Blueprint describes 50 actions that over a dozen federal agencies will take to help improve maternal care. Perritt wants agencies to lean on the input of people doing the work.

PERRITT:

So, what we're asking of the federal government and local health departments is not to create a brand new plan for how to get us out of this mess, but instead to listen to the folks who have been working in community on the ground for decades to address this issue and move from the point of, in being informed in that way to address these issues,

JOHNSON:

You can read the White House report using the link in the show notes.

 

Today is the first day of SepticSmart Week across the U.S. ASTHO has released a proclamation calling attention to the work agencies have done to ensure safe onsite wastewater treatment systems.

ASTHO's Emma Talkington explains.

EMMA TALKINGTON:

ASTHO is one of several partners who participate in EPA's Decentralized Wastewater Memorandum of Understanding, and this proclamation is just one way that we support the work of this group.

We hope that the proclamation can help bring some awareness to SepticSmart Week and septic system maintenance, which helps to protect public health.

JOHNSON:

Idaho public health administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch chairs ASTHO's environmental health policy committee. She says the week's activities aim to promote the care and upkeep of systems that can pose serious public health risks.

 

Finally today, the pandemic revealed that many jurisdictions around the country don't have the data they need to improve health equity for people in their communities.

Anna Bradley is the state health improvement plan coordinator with the Montana Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. She's working every day to incorporate equity into the state's plans.

ANNA BRADLEY:

In Montana, the conversation often is around how do we better serve our rural communities? How do we better serve our American Indian populations? How do we better serve veterans is, is a hot topic right now. I know for a lot of people in the state government. And so, you know, how do we do that? Work better is always part of the conversation. So health equity, I think it's a broad concept for us.

JOHNSON:

You can hear more from Anna Bradley and ASTHO alums Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott and Dr. Harry Chen in a new episode of the Public Health Review podcast, available now everywhere you stream audio.

 

That'll do it for today's newscast. We're back tomorrow morning with more ASTHO news and information.

I'm Robert Johnson. You're listening to Public Health Review Morning Edition. Have a great day.

Jamila Perritt MD MPH FACOG

President and CEO, Physicians for Reproductive Health

Emma Talkington MPH

Analyst, Environmental Health, ASTHO

Anna Bradley MS

State Health Improvement Plan Coordinator, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services