Miami Valley Hospital Committed to Black Women’s Maternal-Fetal Health

Premier Pulse     May 2024

By Melissa Merritt, system vice president of operations, women's services, Premier Health; and David S. McKenna, MD, maternal-fetal medicine, Miami Valley Hospital

Last month, U.S. News & World Report recognized Miami Valley Hospital as one of 26 nationally high-performing hospitals for achieving excellent outcomes for cesarean sections and unexpected newborn complications among Black patients. The criteria for MVH to receive this distinction were newborn complications of less than 2.62% and cesarean delivery rates of less than 23.9% among Black patients. 

Many were responsible for this achievement dating back to 2009 when Tom Breitenbach, the the hospital’s chief executive officer at the time , served as chair of Governor Strickland’s Infant Mortality Task Force.

  • Marc Belcastro, DO, who led system wide efforts to decrease health outcome disparities
  • Shaun Hamilton, MS, led Community Action for Premier Health and chaired the Birth Outcomes committee
  • the nurses, ancillary staff, and providers at Miami Valley Hospital who participated in implicit bias training and cost of poverty experiences (COPE) are the ones who directly affected the hospital’s birth outcomes. 

While this accolade is certainly prestigious, it is premature to rest on our laurels. Despite meeting the U.S. News & World Report thresholds for high performance, we do not have parity in birth outcomes at Miami Valley Hospital or Dayton. Black mothers, fetuses, neonates, and infants even now have higher rates of morbidity and mortality than White patients. Birth outcomes are surrogates for disparate outcomes in other chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. We must continue to recognize and acknowledge biases contributing to our communities' disparate health outcomes. At MVH, we have reduced disparities, but there is still much to be done so that we may one day negate the fact that “There’s something about growing up as a Black female in the United States that’s bad for your childbearing health.”

For those who desire to learn more about the disparities of Maternal-Fetal Medicine for black women, please watch this five-minute video.

Back to the May 2024 issue of Premier Pulse

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