SUNY Downstate Receives Funding to Enhance Maternal Health Outcomes in Project Highlighted by the Biden-Harris Administration’s Maternal Health Call to Action

By Office of Communications & Marketing | Mar 9, 2022

The CVS Health Foundation partners with America’s Essential Hospitals to provide grant funding that supports the expansion and enhancement of initiatives to improve obstetric care for Black patients

Brooklyn, NY March 9, 2022 – SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University announced today that it would receive funding to address Black maternal mortality and morbidity through a program run by America’s Essential Hospitals in partnership with the CVS Health Foundation. America’s Essential Hospitals is using the $847K award to distribute funds for a learning collaborative to address Black maternal mortality and morbidity – with a focus on hemorrhage or hypertension – across 12 essential hospitals, including SUNY Downstate, which has outcomes above the national average, especially among Black patients. The CVS Health Foundation awarded America’s Essential Hospitals funding for the learning collaborative, an initiative recently highlighted in Vice President Kamala Harris’ nationwide Call to Action to the public and private sectors to help improve health outcomes for parents and infants.

“At SUNY Downstate, we are deeply committed to reducing racial disparities in maternal health outcomes. This generous grant will help further our mission to limit morbidity rates, increase medical equity, and save pregnant and birthing persons in Brooklyn and throughout the city,” said Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology Chair Camille A. Clare, MD, MPH, CPE, FACOG. “We are grateful to receive such generous support from America’s Essential Hospitals and the CVS Health Foundation, and we look forward to using this grant to enhance maternal health outcomes for our patients.”

The prevalence of hypertension (high blood pressure) in Black women is the highest nationally. In addition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the pregnancy-related mortality ratio for non-Hispanic Black patients is more than three times that of non-Hispanic white patients. The funds will support the expansion and enhancement of current initiatives, including identifying elements of care in improving obstetric care and preventing maternal mortality specific to Black obstetric patients. America’s Essential Hospitals will also facilitate a learning collaboration among the 12 hospital grantees to support educational opportunities and peer-to-peer exchanges during the 18 months of participation in the project.

University Hospital at Downstate (UHD) is the designated Regional Perinatal Center for Brooklyn and the borough’s only academic medical center. Its primary focus is medical, nursing, and midwifery education, research, and clinical patient care serving the community at the epicenter of the severe maternal morbidity and mortality crisis affecting Central Brooklyn—specifically Black women.

About America’s Essential Hospitals

America’s Essential Hospitals is the leading association and champion for hospitals dedicated to equitable, high-quality care for all, including those who face social and financial barriers to care. Since 1981, America’s Essential Hospitals has advanced policies and programs that promote health, health care access, and equity. We support our more than 300 members with advocacy, policy development, research, education, and leadership development. Communities depend on essential hospitals for care across the continuum, health care workforce training, research, public health and health equity, and other services. Essential Hospitals innovate and adapt to lead all of health care toward better outcomes and value. Learn more at

About CVS Health

CVS Health is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and approximately 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications, or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Learn more at


Contact: Dawn S. Walker
917.439.9666 | 347.533.2071

About SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University is the borough's only academic medical center for health education, research, and patient care. It is a 342-bed facility serving the healthcare needs of New York City and Brooklyn's 2.6 million residents. University Hospital of Brooklyn (UHB) is Downstate's teaching hospital, backed by an outstanding medical school's expertise and world-class academic center research facilities. More than 800 physicians, representing 53 specialties and subspecialties—many of them ranked as tops in their fields—comprise Downstate's staff.

In addition to high-risk neonatal and infant services, pediatric nephrology, and dialysis (kidney diseases)—and offering the only kidney transplantation program in Brooklyn, among many other distinctive programs—Downstate also sponsors a major learning center for young children with developmental disorders and disabilities. In addition to UHB, Downstate comprises a College of Medicine, College of Nursing, School of Health Professions, a School of Graduate Studies, a School of Public Health, and a multifaceted biotechnology initiative, including the Downstate Biotechnology Incubator and BioBAT for early-stage and more mature companies, respectively. For more information, visit or follow us on Twitter at @sunydownstate.