Atlanta, GA

Emory University researcher conducts a study to address maternal mortality

Amy Cheribelle

ATLANTA, GA — Alexis Dunn-Amore, an assistant professor at Emory's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, conducts a study to address the maternal death rate issue in the U.S., especially among Black mothers.

Based on the available data, the maternal death rate in the U.S. is the highest in all developed world. According to the data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, as many as 700 women die due to pregnancy, childbirth, or subsequent complications every year.

Therefore, Dunn-Amore, along with her mentee, Katiana Carey-Simms, are trying to figure out what causes the complications during pregnancy or childbirth. Carey-Simms, who is pursuing a master's degree in the nursing program, earned a lesson from her mentor that research and data can be beneficial for pregnant women most at risk of dying.

Dunn-Amore and Carey-Simms state that there are various reasons Black women died during the postpartum period, including untreated chronic disease, a lack of access to health care, poverty, lack of education about warning sign, and acute depression and mood disorders.

With all those problems, Black mothers have a three-times higher risk to die compared with white and Latina mothers. As shown by the available data, the maternal mortality rate per 100,000 live births of Black people is 44, while white people rate is 17.9 and Hispanic rate is 12.6.

As she also nearly died after giving birth to her first child, Dunn-Amore's interest in this issue is personal. Her research focuses on the health gap and the disproportionate toll between pregnant women and new moms.

In addition to her research, she's also building a web-based platform presenting information of a list of CDC indicators that mostly be the cause of maternal death to help women triage their symptoms.

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