September 12, 2019

DHSS is awarded grant from CDC to improve maternal health in Missouri

For Immediate Release:
Sept. 12, 2019

Media Contact:
Lisa Cox
Chief, Office of Public Information
Missouri DHSS of Health and Senior Services

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) was one of the states selected through a competitive grant process for a 5-year grant awarded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Enhancing Reviews and Surveillance to Eliminate Maternal Mortality (ERASE MM) program. This funding will directly support agencies and organizations that coordinate and manage Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRC) to identify, review and characterize maternal deaths and identify prevention opportunities.

During the 2018-2019 session, Missouri legislators passed Senate Bill 514 which established a Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) in order to improve data collection and reporting of maternal deaths in Missouri.

“We are now able to analyze data in real time to assist with efforts, including public policies, which can prevent future maternal morbidity and mortality,” said Ashlie Otto, RN-BSN, PAMR Coordinator with the DHSS Section for Women’s Health.

Missouri’s recently formed PAMR Board consists of 18 members from throughout the state who represent various specialties that interact and impact maternal health and who were appointed by DHSS Director Randall Williams, MD, FACOG. The PAMR Board analyzes all maternal deaths that occur while a woman is pregnant or within one year of the end of her pregnancy. This requires an in-depth medical and social review to look into the factors that contribute to, or directly cause the death, and to prevent future occurrences.

“We are incredibly appreciative of all of our obstetrical thought leaders who have agreed to serve on our PAMR Board and who are actively engaged in collaborative efforts to improve maternal health in Missouri,” said Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director. “Enhanced coordination with our CDC colleagues through the maternal mortality review process will help us protect the health of mothers.”

In conjunction with the awarding of the grant, the CDC visited Missouri DHSS this week to provide technical assistance to maternal mortality review staff and to meet with members of the PAMR Board.

Earlier this year, the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health also announced Missouri’s acceptance into the AIM collaborative which 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.

As the first initiative, Missouri will be implementing the AIM “Severe Hypertension in Pregnancy” patient safety bundle. Together with the Missouri Hospital Association and Missouri March of Dimes, DHSS will be hosting an AIM kick-off meeting Friday, Oct. 18, for maternal care stakeholders in Missouri. Register here.  


About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo.