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In response to high rates of pregnancy-related complications and deaths in the United States, or maternal morbidity and mortality, the National Institutes of Health launched the Implementing a Maternal health and PRegnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) initiative. The initiative supports research focused on reducing preventable causes of maternal deaths and improving health for women before, during, and after delivery. IMPROVE includes a special emphasis on health disparities and populations disproportionately affected, such as African American/Black women, American Indians/Alaskan Natives, Asian Pacific Islanders, Hispanics/Latinas, very young women and women of advanced maternal age, and people with disabilities.
The IMPROVE initiative aims to:
- Address the foremost causes of maternal mortality in the United States, which include cardiovascular disease, infection, embolism, and immunity—as well as significant pregnancy-associated and pregnancy-related health complications, such as diabetes, obesity, mental health disorders, and substance use disorders.
- Identify biological, behavioral, sociocultural, and structural factors that contribute to disparities in maternal health and delays or disruptions in maternal care.
- Investigate the potential effects of emerging infections, such as SARS-CoV-2, on pregnancy-related deaths and complications in different geographic regions and communities.
- Support the development of technologies, tools, devices, and interventions that predict or diagnose risk for maternal morbidity and mortality, reduce preventable causes of maternal deaths and improve health with a focus on mitigating maternal health disparities.
- Help create tailored, evidence-based maternal health-related solutions for women across the country to promote maternal health equity.