Black women are more than two times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related death in Virginia than white women, a disparity that Gov. Ralph Northam is determined to eliminate by 2025.
Northam announced the 2025 goal on Wednesday, during the ceremonial signing of a bill that establishes the Maternal Mortality Review Team in Virginia.
The review team will have access to better methods of data collection and the hope is that prioritizing the gathering of this information will help the state get to the roots of the racial disparity issue.
“A critical component of improving maternal health outcomes is the elimination of the racial disparity we are seeing in Virginia and across the nation,” said Governor Northam in a statement.
“This is a worthy goal that is perfectly within reach, and I am directing leaders in my administration and in the healthcare and human services community to develop strategies to get us there by 2025.”
Northam has also directed private and non-profit leaders to develop strategies to help achieve the state’s goal, while ordering the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) and the Department of Social Services (DSS) to expedite enrollment for pregnant women eligible for Medicaid.
Northam also ordered the Department of Health and the Department of Health Professions to “explore ways to increase implicit bias and cultural competency training for healthcare professionals.”
The governor is also “directing all applicable executive branch agencies to provide recommendations for improving maternal health” as part of his 2025 goal.