In mid-November, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) released a long-awaited comprehensive report on maternal mortality in Ohio. The report shows that there were 610 pregnancy-associated deaths, of which 186 were pregnancy-related, in Ohio between 2008 and 2016. The report finds that Black women were two and half times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related death than white women over the same time period. (This Community Solutions blog from 2018 will provide a quick refresher on definitions of terms related to maternal mortality.) As a rate, this equates to 29.5 deaths per 100,000 live births for Black women compared to 11.5 deaths per 100,000 live births for white women. Consistent with national figures, more than half of all pregnancy-related deaths (57 percent) were likely preventable.
Compared to how data was released in the past, this report from ODH provides a much more complete look at maternal mortality by reviewing clinical factors and important systemic factors that contribute to maternal deaths. This is particularly important to understand and address the racial disparity in maternal deaths. Several recommendations  made in the report are tied directly to this issue including:
- Providing education to obstetrics staff on peripartum racial and ethnic disparities and their root causes. This could be done through incorporating implicit bias training into medical education and/or existing trainings.
- Health systems should work to develop a way for patients and/or their families to report inequitable care including a mechanism for a timely and tailored response.
There were 610 pregnancy-associated deaths, of which 186 were pregnancy-related, in Ohio between 2008 and 2016…more than half of all pregnancy-related deaths (57 percent) were likely preventable
Ohio relied on its Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review (PAMR) committee to inform this report. Over the last nine years, since Ohio established its PAMR committee, ODH states that it has focused on three key ways to strengthen the review process: 
- Collecting data in a standardized way
- Assessing preventability of maternal deaths
- Creating recommendations based on maternal death reviews
Looking ahead, Community Solutions will continue to explore the data and recommendations, what gaps remain in available information (namely data on severe maternal morbidity or “near misses”), how this further informs the work we’ve produced on the status of women in Ohio and what we can do to support policy and practice change that will improve the health and experience of women.
 A Report on Pregnancy-Associated Deaths in Ohio 2008-2016, Ohio Department of Health, 2019, page 47.
 Ibid. Page 7