School of Public Health, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health (AAIUH) Receive $430K Congressional Grant

By Office of the President | Oct 24, 2022

Congratulations to the School of Public Health (SPH), Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Arthur Ashe Institute of Urban Health, which received a $430K grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Black maternal health research. The grant will fund the NIH R21 Intervention Study, a joint project between Downstate and AAIUH to provide better outcomes for black maternal health in Central Brooklyn and test the efficacy of an intervention prototype called We Care About Brooklyn (WeCAB).

In New York City, there is a pronounced Black-white maternal mortality gap. On average, the maternal mortality rate is 9.4 times higher for Black compared to White mothers.

Central Brooklyn is the epicenter of the maternal health crisis in New York City. Women with the highest rates of severe maternal morbidity (SMM), considered “near misses” to maternal death, are Black immigrants concentrated in Central Brooklyn. This situation reflects a history of systemic racism and neglect. In addition, women who lack adequate care throughout pregnancy and postpartum have a higher risk of severe maternal adverse events and death.

The two-year NIH R21 study will test the preliminary efficacy of a novel intervention prototype—We Care About Brooklyn (WeCAB)—that uses a combination of community health workers, digital health screenings, and an integrated referral system to better address patients’ needs. WeCAB integrates the principles of an evidence-based community health worker model and leverages a digital social determinant of health screening and a close-loop referral system. 

The NIH R21 Intervention study aims to integrate WeCAB into routine maternal care so systemic issues can be addressed appropriately through key informant interviews and post-intervention surveys.

The grant was written by Aimee Afable, Ph.D., MPH, SPH Health Community Engagement associate dean, Christina Pardo, M.D., MPH, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology Health Equity Division director, and Marilyn A. Fraser, M.D., Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health chief executive officer. Drs. Afable and Pardo will lead the study.

Co-Investigators include Camille A. Clare, M.D., MPH, CPE, FACOG, Obstetrics & Gynecology Department Chair; Rose Calixte, Ph.D., PStat, School of Public Health Biostatistics assistant professor and Thomas Mackie, Ph.D., MPH, Health Policy & Management chair, Mohammad Faysel, Ph.D., School of Health Professions Medical Informatics chair, and Tenya Blackwell, DrPH, Community Engagement and Research director, Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health.

Tags: Obstetrics & Gynecology, Arthur Ashe, Awards