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$2M HHS Grant Targets Black Maternal Health Disparities in Florida  

Evara Health is among the recipients of a $65 million HHS funding initiative, supporting underserved communities in creating innovative approaches to reduce Black maternal health disparities.

Evara Health is among the recipients of a $65 million HHS funding initiative, supporting underserved communities in creating innovative approaches to reduce Black maternal health disparities. 

Florida-based Evara Health secured a $2 million grant from a substantial $65 million funding pool, joining as one of 35 recipients in the Biden Administration's effort to address Black maternal health disparities.  

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) funding, channeled through the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), directly backs the Biden-Harris Administration's Maternal Health Blueprint to improve maternal health outcomes in underserved communities, agency leaders said. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is taking significant steps to address our country’s maternal health crisis,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a press release. “This support for HRSA-funded health centers will help ensure healthier pregnancy and postpartum outcomes for all and help address health disparities among women of color and women in rural and medically underserved areas.” 

“We need bold solutions that recognize and respond to the unacceptable disparities in maternal health outcomes in this country,” said HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson. “Through this new funding, health centers will be able to tailor their response to the needs of their patients and communities and take action to save lives.” 

HRSA’s funds will be used to implement innovative approaches to improve maternal health outcomes and reduce disparities for patients at the highest risk.  

“Evara Health has been on the forefront of working together to ensure that moms and babies across Tampa Bay get the care they need, improve health outcomes, confront racial disparities in maternal care, and make sure children and their mothers are healthy and have every opportunity to thrive,” said Kathy Castor, Florida US Representative. This significant grant funding will support Evara’s innovative work in improving the lives of many of our neighbors.” 

Healthcare providers have witnessed firsthand the racial inequities and experiences that motivate them to address these critical issues. 

“No matter the education level of a Black woman, her chances of experiencing morbidity and mortality are much higher than other women,” said Deanna Wathington, public health practitioner, MD, MPH, FAAFP. “I am one of those women who, even with my MD and MPH, struggled to get the care I needed after experiencing complications during the birth of my first child. Thanks to the good graces of some of the hospital staff that were involved, I’m still here to tell this story all these years later. But my story is not unique; it is a very common issue that occurs every day, and I’m thankful for the work being done to improve it.” 

Maternal health disparities have long been a concern, but their significance has gained more attention, particularly after a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report in 2019 highlighted just how stark those racial disparities are.  

Against the backdrop of the United States having the highest maternal mortality rate among developed nations, the CDC report revealed that Black women face a threefold higher risk of experiencing pregnancy-related complications leading to death compared to White women. This disparity is rooted in significant gaps in quality of care, underlying chronic conditions, structural racism, and implicit bias. 

As such research comes to the forefront, the Biden-Harris administration said it remains firm in efforts to prioritize Black maternal health outcomes. 

In commitment to this cause, along with its most recent funding, HHS granted over $20 million in funding last September to nine recipients through its State Maternal Health Innovation Program. 

“The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to prioritizing equity and reducing the unacceptable disparities in maternal and infant health,” HRSA Administrator Carole Johnson said regarding the September grant. “Through these awards, we are taking additional action to implement the Blueprint that the President and Vice President have laid out for driving impactful solutions and providing our nation's families with the support and resources they need to lead healthy lives.” 

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