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President Laraque-Arena to co-lead state task force on maternal mortality

President Laraque-Arena to co-lead state task force on maternal mortality

SYRACUSE, N.Y.-- Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, president of Upstate Medical University and Upstate Health System CEO, has been appointed by Governor Cuomo to be one of four leaders of the statewide Task Force on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes.

The task force is part of a comprehensive initiative to target maternal mortality and reduce racial disparities in health outcomes, building on the state’s commitment to addressing maternal mortality across the state. The multi-pronged initiative includes efforts to review and better address maternal death and morbidity with a focus on racial disparities, expanding community outreach, and taking new actions to increase access to prenatal and perinatal care, including establishing a pilot expansion of Medicaid coverage for doulas.

“Maternal mortality should not be a fear anyone in New York should have to face in the 21st century,” Cuomo said. “We are taking aggressive action to break down barriers that prevent women from getting the prenatal care and information they need. This comprehensive initiative will work to correct unacceptable racial disparities in maternal mortality and help ensure a healthier and stronger New York for all.”

The Taskforce on Maternal Mortality and Disparate Racial Outcomes will provide expert policy advice on improving maternal outcomes, addressing racial and economic disparities and reducing the frequency of maternal mortality and morbidity in New York state. The task force will comprise OB-GYNs, hospital representatives, secretary to the governor and chair of the New York State Council on Women and Girls Melissa DeRosa, Lt. Gov.Kathy Hochul, New York City Public Advocate Letitia James and appointees from Senate Democratic Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan and Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, as well as other stakeholders and members of the community.

“It is an honor to serve as co-chair on the New York State Department of Health Task Force for Maternal Morbidity and Mortality to address the numerous health factors that can lead to the pregnancy-related death of a mother,” said Laraque-Arena. “This is a public health issue in New York and across the nation, and it will take strong coalition and shared resources to solve it. Thanks to Governor Cuomo for leading our efforts here in New York state.”

In addition to Laraque-Arena, also leading the task force are Howard Zucker, MD, commissioner of the State Department of Health; Sascha James-Conterelli, DNP, CNM, LM, president of the New York Association of Licensed Midwives; Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, chairman of Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYC Health and Hospitals, Kings County.

Caption: President Danielle Laraque-Arena, MD, FAAP, will lead a state task force on maternal morbidity, along with the New York Health Commissioner and two others.