Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Maternal Mortality Review Committees (MMRCs) should widely and intentionally distribute their written reports or other summaries of findings. Doing so communicates the value of MMRCs and creates pressure and support for action. Dissemination should be proactive and planned to be effective.
Proactive and planned dissemination means:
- Partnering with key stakeholders and decision-makers within the disciplines and organizations that are the targets of recommendations before releasing a report or findings. Ideally, these stakeholders serve on your MMRC. Strategic partnerships, such as with your state Medicaid agency or state perinatal quality collaborative, provide an avenue to begin the relationship building for the implementation of MMRC findings and recommendations. These partnerships can be instrumental in framing committee findings in ways that better resonate with the target audience.
- Using multiple methods to disseminate findings, including announcements from the agency or organization that administers the MMRC and the agencies and organizations serving on the MMRC. These include press releases, social media outlets (especially of useful data visualizations), communication with local news stations or print media, and direct email to a broad network of maternal health stakeholders.
- Intentionally going to a broad array of tables to share findings. This includes submitting abstracts and presenting findings at professional conferences, writing articles in professional newsletters of the disciplines and organizations reflected in the committee findings, and publishing manuscripts in scholarly journals read by specific professional groups. It also means having a plan to communicate directly with communities facing a disproportionate burden of maternal mortality, as reflected in MMRC findings. Due to staff time and resource constraints in community organizations, MMRC members need to invest more effort and time engaging with organizations that serve marginalized communities. MMRC staff should initiate travel or direct communication with these communities to discuss critical findings and hear the collective voice of the community.
The release of findings also signals the close of one cycle and the start of a new cycle in the quality improvement process that is maternal mortality review. On an ongoing basis, MMRCs should reflect on their process and identify opportunities to improve. This may include asking the following questions:
- How are the causes of death and factors contributing to deaths changing over time, and in relationship to our recommendations?
- How can we improve our case identification process?
- What are we learning about our access to key records on each case, and how that access influences the quality of our case discussions?
- How are we making key decisions during case deliberations?
- Do all MMRC members feel valued and heard?
- Do we regularly implement changes to maintain a supportive environment for all MMRC members?
- Do we regularly ask MMRC members about how engaged they feel working on the committee?
- How equitable is our process? How are we prioritizing health equity at every step?
- Who has expertise to contribute to our process that we need to engage?
As MMRCs answer these questions, you are encouraged to reach out for technical assistance. You can also use the interactive state map to identify MMRCs in your region and structured like your own to learn more about how they address challenges and opportunities. Other opportunities for collaboration include:
- MMRIA User Meetings (MUM)
- Webinar trainings hosted by the ERASE MM team
- MMRIA Abstractor and Coordinator Office Hours
- MMRIA Analyst Office Hours
- Regional meetings for Title V/MCH state health agency staff or for ACOG members