The ADHS Maternal Mortality Review Program was recently recognized at the Maternal Mortality Review Information Application User Meeting hosted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA in June, 2019. The team was recognized for their integral role in conducting maternal mortality reviews in Arizona and for providing data to a recently published national report on maternal deaths, Vital Signs: Pregnancy-Related Deaths, United States, 2011–2015, and Strategies for Prevention, 13 States, 2013–2017. You can access the latest national report on maternal deaths from the CDC here.

The Arizona Revised Statute was amended in April 2011 to establish the Arizona Maternal Mortality Review Committee as a subcommittee to the Child Fatality Review Program. Since its establishment in July 2012, the subcommittee has been reviewing all identified maternal deaths in the State. The committee is a multidisciplinary team of volunteers that includes clinicians from urban and rural health centers, public health professionals, and community service providers. The team meets monthly to review maternal deaths in order to identify preventative factors and provide actionable recommendations.

In 2017 the Maternal Mortality Review Committee produced a report analyzing the deaths of 86 women that died within a year of their pregnancies between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015. Thirty-seven of these deaths were determined to be related to their pregnancies. Main causes of death were cardiac and hypertension (27%); hemorrhaging (24%); and suicide, homicide, or accidents (16%). The findings also highlighted the preventability of these deaths, as 89% of all pregnancy-related deaths were deemed preventable by the Maternal Mortality Review Committee. The report highlights substantial racial disparities that exist as the rate of American Indian women dying from pregnancy-related causes is 4 times higher than White women.

Currently the Maternal Mortality Review Program is reviewing deaths that occurred in 2016-2018 and will publish a report on these deaths next year. ADHS will soon launch the new Advisory Committee established by SB1040 to make recommendations on how to improve the information and data gathered for the maternal mortality review. You can access the latest information on maternal mortality and morbidity in Arizona on our website. While we have much work to do to prevent pregnancy-related deaths and severe complications, we congratulate the Maternal Mortality Review Program for this special recognition by the CDC, and thank the volunteers that give of their time to review these tragic deaths.