Abt, HealthBegins, Preeclampsia Foundation Receive HRSA Contract to Advance Equitable Maternal Health Outcomes

Rockville, Md. — The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)—through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)— awarded an evaluation and technical assistance contract to Abt Associates. Abt Associates, together with subcontractors HealthBegins and the MoMMAs Voices program of the Preeclampsia Foundation, will provide technical assistance and evaluation support to 36 HRSA-supported health centers who are implementing innovative approaches to holistic, patient-centric maternal care through HRSA’s Quality Improvement Fund – Maternal Health funding opportunity.
The Abt team will support health centers as they develop sustainable care models that can address individuals’ clinical, behavioral, and social needs—such as housing, food, transportation, and safety—that impact maternal health.

Designing the Process

Abt will bring decades of experience in participatory mixed-methods evaluation to lead the evaluation and technical assistance process, leveraging our experience addressing challenges across the social determinants of health. HealthBegins—with expertise in upstream quality improvement at varying levels of intervention and prevention to address health inequities—will advise on the evaluation and guide the technical assistance. MoMMAs Voices will provide expert support to the health centers so they can effectively integrate patient voice in design, implementation, and evaluation.

“We understand a lot about what goes wrong in maternal health in the U.S., but we need to take an innovative approach to making it better,” said Abt’s Project Director Jodi Anthony. “That includes understanding health as part of a larger tapestry, and addressing it holistically alongside the social determinants of health, and this project allows us to do just that.”

“By integrating lived experiences into the training and evaluation process of this project, we ensure that patient voices are heard,” said Preeclampsia Foundation Chief Executive Officer Eleni Tsigas. “We must implement innovative processes to change how care is provided and received.”

"For decades, health centers have been at the forefront of the health equity movement in America," said Dr. Rishi Manchanda, chief executive officer at HealthBegins. "With this opportunity, we're excited to help these courageous leaders and care teams use our upstream quality improvement methods to refine and accelerate their efforts to advance maternal health equity in conjunction with patients and communities harmed by societal practices."

About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a global consulting and research firm that combines data and bold thinking to improve the quality of people's lives. We partner with clients and communities to advance equity and innovation—from creating scalable digital solutions and combatting infectious disease, to mitigating climate change and evaluating programs for measurable social impact. https://www.abtassociates.com

About HealthBegins
HealthBegins is a national strategy and implementation firm that helps Medicaid-serving organizations to meet health care equity and social needs requirements and achieve long–term impact for people and communities harmed by societal practices. We have extensive experience working with health plans, health systems, and CBOs in developing clinical-community partnerships to integrate health and social care, address individual social needs, and improve community-level social and structural determinants of health equity. Learn more at https://healthbegins.org/

About the Preeclampsia Foundation and MoMMAs Voices

MoMMAs (Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Advocates) Voices, a program of the Preeclampsia Foundation, is the first-ever maternal health patient advocacy coalition established in 2018, to amplify the voices of people who have experienced childbirth complications or loss - especially those who have been historically marginalized - ensuring they are equipped and activated as partners with providers and researchers to improve maternal health outcomes. The program is supported by a grant through Merck for Mothers. For more information, visit www.preeclampsia.org and www.mommasvoices.org.

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