Collective Impact (CI) is a model for solving complex social problems. The approach emphasizes collaboration, learning, and discovery with community partners that inform activity design and planning, implementation, and maintenance.
Started in 2020, the March of Dimes’ MCH CI initiative uses the CI framework to address poor maternal and infant health outcomes in nine sites across the United States: Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; Shreveport, LA; San Antonio, TX; Broward County, FL; Louisville, KY; New Orleans, LA; and Chicago, IL.
The March of Dimes MCH CI initiative follows distinct phases for implementation. Evaluations of each of the phases of CI is being conducted to understand how March of Dimes can best continue to work in these communities to improve maternal and infant health. A process evaluation will also be conducted to critically examine the CI approach and the CI initiative’s implementation.
During this first phase, CI Directors prioritized discussions with community members and stakeholders who are involved in maternal and child health in their communities, to understand the landscape of maternal and infant health services and challenges faced by community members.
In fall 2020, qualitative and quantitative data were collected via surveys from the CI Director in each of the nine CI sites to describe opportunities and challenges around the landscape analysis work.
Results showed that:
- In all CI sites, the preterm birth rate is highest among Black women, and racial and ethnic disparities exist in infant mortality.
- Pregnant women face many barriers to accessing prenatal care that are related to policy decisions, including the lack of Medicaid expansion and unequal geographic distribution of hospitals providing maternity services.
- Other factors that result in poor maternal and infant health include poverty due to a history of structural racism, violence related to the overpolicing of historically Black neighborhoods, and disproportional exposures to polluting industries and environmental hazards in certain areas.