SVMC Joins National Maternal Health Efforts
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2022

SVMC Joins National Maternal Health Efforts

BENNINGTON, VT—January 21, 2022—This Sunday, the physicians and nurses of Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC) OB/GYN and the nurses of SVMC Women’s and Children’s Services will celebrate Maternal Health Awareness Day, which is observed every year on January 23. The aim is to raise awareness of issues that have led to increased rates of maternal mortality and launch two major projects focused on addressing the issue of maternal mortality locally.

“While it may be surprising to some, maternal mortality is a significant problem in the United States,” said Kimberley Sampson, MD, an OB/GYN and the chair of the Department of Obstetrics. “In fact, maternal mortality is on the rise.”

Sampson cites statistics from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which estimates that pregnancy-related complications result in approximately 700 deaths in the United States each year. For every pregnancy-related death, there are 70 severe maternal morbidity events, or unexpected outcomes of labor and delivery that result in significant short- or long-term consequences to someone's health.

While proud of their safety record, the professionals who interact with delivering families—including physicians, anesthesiologists, midwives, and nurses—are engaging in a continuous quality improvement project in conjunction with the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, known as AIM. The project provides additional, in-depth training and the most recent evidence-based plans for early pregnancy to delivery and beyond. Issues covered include obstetric hemorrhage, hypertension in pregnancy, reduction of primary cesarean birth, and care for those with substance use disorder, among others.

“SVMC has always been among the safest places to deliver,” Sampson explains. “This project should give patients and their families added confidence that we are using every available resource to ensure our safety measures are the best anywhere.”

The second project relates to providing all staff with training in trauma-informed care. The project helps professionals discern when a patient might have experienced trauma in their past and helps them adjust care as needed.

“It is important for every member of the healthcare team to recognize how common trauma is and the effects it has on their patients’ health,” Sampson said. “When we incorporate trauma-informed approaches, our patients will benefit.”

Although trauma affects people of all races, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds, training in trauma-informed care is expected to aid efforts to improve equality in healthcare access and outcomes.

To learn more about Maternal Health Awareness Day and see how OB/GYNs nationwide are contributing to improved health for our patients, interested members of the public can follow #MHAD2022 on Sunday.

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, healthcare system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It is the recipient of the American Hospital Association’s 2020 Rural Hospital Leadership Award. SVMC ranked fourth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index and is a five-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from the Leapfrog Group. 

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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