Jarlenski and Mendez receive RWJF funding to promote racial equity in pregnancy and child health


HPM’s Marian Jarlenski and EPI’s Dara Mendez were recently awarded a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for their project “Evaluating interventions in Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program to promote equity in pregnancy and child health for Black and Native populations.”

“We know that our nation needs to work to reverse distressing trends in maternal mortality, and we need to improve outcomes for people of color relative to white populations,” said Acting DHS Secretary Meg Snead in an announcement from the Department of Human Services. “With this grant funding, we will be able to directly see the effects our policies are having on maternal and infant health equity. DHS has the ability to review and assess our Medical Assistance policies, so it is incumbent upon us to promote racial equity in pregnancy and child health,” Snead added.

Their research will study the implementation and early effects of newly adopted Medicaid policies designed to promote health equity by improving pregnancy and infant outcomes in Black populations. They will draw on established partnerships between the University of Pittsburgh, the Pennsylvania Medicaid program, and Healthy Start to collect qualitative data, evaluate quantitative data, and incorporate community-based approaches to research, intervention development, and advocacy.

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