Wellbeing (e.g. Youth, Community, Mental)
Sharing Session - 30 Minutes
Preterm birth is the leading cause of infant death in the United States. The preterm birth rate has increased steadily over the past four years to a rate of 9.9 in 2017. In 2017, rates were 49% higher among blacks and over 15% higher among American Indian/Alaska Natives compared to whites. In 2016, March of Dimes convened the Prematurity Collaborative to address these challenges. Collaborative members embraced equity, specifically health equity in birth outcomes or birth equity, as its vision. In 2017, the Health Equity Workgroup of the Collaborative set out to ensure that all workgroups had a foundational understanding of birth equity.
A consensus statement was also conceptualized by the group that outlines research on the causes of disparities in preterm birth, debunking the myth that disparities are natural or inevitable. A small team of social scientists and public health professionals developed the document based on a set of equity-based guiding principles. The consensus statement was published online for individuals and organizations to endorse. Currently, the Collaborative has received 70 endorsements of its consensus statement. The Health Equity Workgroup consensus building process has contributed to a deeper understanding of equity in program, policy and research. This is one example of how the Collaborative is advancing the field’s understanding of birth equity, and shifting the narrative towards the root causes of disparities in preterm birth.