Arkansas lawmakers, medical experts hold maternal health roundtable

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Arkansas has historically ranked as one of the worst states for maternal health care, with maternal mortality a major concern.

But a roundtable held Wednesday at UAMS worked to change that and find solutions to protect mothers.

Wednesday’s roundtable was organized by Sen. John Boozman, Congressman French Hill and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders and featured leaders from across the medical world who are experts on maternal care.  

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Using the latest maternal health legislative report, panelists focused on prenatal, pregnancy and postpartum care and brainstormed solutions to improving the health of mothers.

Everyone in attendance agreed this was a promising start, but the momentum has to keep going.

Arkansas Department of Health Family Health Director William Greenfield said the roundtable is a good first step.

“It represents a great first step in a conversation,” Greenfield said. “There have been more efforts directed towards maternal health in the past few years and resources directed to maternal health in Arkansas specifically in the past few years than I can recall in recent history,” Greenfield said.

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Community Health Centers of Arkansas CEO Dr. Lanita White agreed, adding that it’s important to keep the momentum going.

“How do we make sure that we have a concerted effort moving forward and not just, you know, leave a feel-good session, right, where we talked about it, and we leave it and we don’t do anything? And so the onus is going to be on us,” she said.

In Arkansas, 1 in 35 women are not seeing a doctor until delivery, only 35 hospitals in Arkansas have active labor and delivery units and 92% of deaths related to pregnancy are preventable.

The most common theme heard at the event in terms of a solution was communication and knowledge. 

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The latest maternal mortality rate can be found at

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