Abstract for: Building Policymaker Capacity to Address Maternal Mortality in the United States Using Systems Mapping and Modeling

Maternal mortality rates (MMR) have been declining in most of the world,but have more than doubled in the U.S. over the past 30 years. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a MMR in 1987 of 7.2 deaths/100,000 live births, and in 2018, the reported MMR was 17.4 deaths/100,000 live births. Recognizing these troubling trends, many policymakers in the U.S. have begun to focus on improving maternal health. A variety of complex reasons likely underlie our high MMR. As such, in late 2019, GHPC brought a systems-oriented approach into the conversation with policymakers and other stakeholders. The aim was to foster cross-sector dialogue with diverse perspectives, and to move conversations towards recognizing the broader and dynamic system in which high MMR is nested. GHPC convened a systems expert, policymakers, and several Georgia subject matter experts to build a stock and flow map. Our “work in progress” includes the development of a collaboratively-developed systems map, and, ultimately, this process is intended to result in a dynamic systems model that allows policymakers to test the potential impact of pulling certain policy levers at the state level to improve maternal health and decrease MMR.