JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health announced Missouri's acceptance into the AIM collaborative.

AIM is a federally funded data-driven quality improvement program to reduce maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity. Administered by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, AIM involves a broad multidisciplinary alliance working within state teams. 


AIM participation expands access to evidence-driven approaches to improve maternal safety and outcomes, with the goal of eliminating preventable maternal mortality and severe morbidity nationwide.


Maternal mortality in the U.S. exceeds that of most western and developed nations. Since 1987, the maternal mortality rate has more than doubled, from 7.2 to 18 per 100,000 deaths per live birth. The rate for black women in the U.S. is a startling 40 per 100,000. Among the states, Missouri ranks 42nd for maternal mortality.


The AIM collaborative delivers maternal safety bundles developed from evidence-based best practices in maternal care. The Missouri Hospital Association, with collaborative support from the March of Dimes of Missouri, is taking the lead on implementation, and the Hospital Industry Data Institute will support data collection and reporting efforts.


“Our goal should be to eliminate childbirth-related mortality and morbidity,” said Herb B. Kuhn, MHA President and CEO. “MHA will be working with clinicians to expand access to the tools that reduce harm and save lives. However, addressing maternal death and harm requires a broad approach, because the factors that influence safety are both clinical- and community-based.”


Researchers suggest that a variety of factors can influence maternal mortality and morbidity, including access to prenatal care, C-section rates, and rates of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, among others. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified that only about one-third of maternal deaths occurred during labor and delivery or in the following week. 


Approximately one-third occurred during pregnancy and another third between one week and one year after birth. Nonclinical factors, including access to health care services, improved health and community support, are necessary to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.


“Our mission at DHSS is to protect health and keep people safe,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and board-certified OB-GYN. “We are incredibly appreciative that the awarding of the AIM designation will foster our mission for all our new and expecting mothers in Missouri. Improving maternal health is a priority for us, and we greatly appreciate our partners throughout the state who are working with us to decrease maternal mortality.”


The AIM announcement is the most recent of several related to maternal mortality efforts in Missouri. Clinicians and hospitals recently launched the Missouri Maternal-Child Learning and Action Network to serve as a clearinghouse for mother- and child-related quality and safety issues. The MC-LAN leverages best-practice champions, peer networks and collaborative learning to drive improved health outcomes. 


The program allows hospitals, birthing centers, clinicians and community partners to engage in specific quality improvement projects and with collaborative support networks.


Participating stakeholders include the March of Dimes of Missouri, Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, Missouri Department of Social Services’ MO HealthNet Division, MHA, Missouri Section of ACOG, and Missouri Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics.