The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has allocated $24m of initial funding to set up Maternal Health Research Centres of Excellence as part of its Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE) plan.

The Maternal Health Research Centres of Excellence, which will receive grants for seven years, are set to address disparities in maternal health outcomes based on factors such as race, ethnicity, age, education, and socioeconomic status.

These centres will collaborate with community partners, including public health agencies and faith-based organisations, to research various factors impacting pregnancy-related health.

IMPROVE aims to support innovative approaches to help reduce pregnancy-related complications and deaths and also promote equity in maternal health.

NHS highlighted that the maternal death rate in the US is higher than other high-income nations, with over 1,200 such deaths recorded in 2021.

NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) director Diana W Bianchi said: “The magnitude and persistence of maternal health disparities in the United States underscore the need for research to identify evidence-based solutions to promote health equity and improve outcomes nationwide.

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“Through collaborations with community partners and others, the Maternal Health Research Centres of Excellence will generate critical scientific evidence to help guide clinical care and reduce health disparities during and after pregnancy.”

The centres of excellence include ten research centres, a data innovation and coordinating hub, and a science hub.