Healthy Pregnancy Collaborative

Academic Co-Lead: Janet Catov, MWRI, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and the Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburgh

Clinical Co-Lead: Onome Oghifobibi, MD, MSc, Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh

Community Co-Lead: Jada Shirriel, MS, CEO, Healthy Start, Inc

Community Co-Lead: Demia Tyler

Community Research Coordinator:

Pittsburgh falls at the bottom of the nation’s list when it comes to Black maternal health and infant mortality rates. The city’s findings when researching the issue found that fetal deaths are two times more likely among Pittsburgh’s Black women compared to White women.

Every woman deserves to have a safe, healthy, and supported pregnancy. Inequities result from groups of people having less access to resources, services, institutional power, respect, and social status. The Healthy Pregnancy Collaborative focuses on the needs of, and inequities faced by pregnant people and their social supports. We’re learning why Black women and their infants experience more health problems than their white counterparts and how to change systems to address these issues.

“My main goal, since becoming a part of The Doula for every family project is to improve the health of black mothers and children in our community. By teaming up with our local researchers and health organizations we have been doing a great job so far at reaching families in this area.

– Brianna Dowden, Healthy Start; Watch Brianna’s Story here

The Healthy Pregnancy Collaborative is active in multiple streams of research to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of neighborhood-specific programs to address barriers affecting pregnancy thriving in Allegheny County. Our work so far also includes the Happy, Healthy and Safe Pregnancy Survey which identifies the needs of birthing people and the development of accessible Doula services. Survey responses have been instrumental in understanding personal and collective experiences. Findings have shown that one of the most critical factors for a healthy, safe, and happy pregnancy is access to clean (lead-free) water. Results also revealed that BIPOC respondents, as well as those who have experienced a preterm birth, were more likely to experience negative interactions with providers when compared to their respective comparison groups.

In collaboration with the Allegheny Health Network, Healthy Start, First Steps & Beyond, and the Allegheny County Health Department, the TPS Healthy Pregnancy Collaborative and the Western PA Regional Data Center are working  together to develop a catalog of data related to maternal and child health. The catalog will serve as a road map for future data collection and development of data dashboards and data requests. Through this community-wide relationship, the goal is to decrease Black infant mortality rates, reduce pre-term births, provide maternal support in the fourth trimester, and expand education for safe sleeping conditions for infants.

Our Pillars of Purpose

Our pillars of purpose define the cornerstones of our mission. Any work we do must address or include one of these cornerstones. By sticking with these principles, we will ensure that we are mission-driven and meeting our collaborative’s purpose. These pillars will add strength and structure to our work.

Articles in Progress

  1. Hager E, Lavage DR, Shirriel J, Catov J, Miller E, and Krishnamurti T, on behalf of the Pittsburgh Study Pregnancy Collaborative.  A model for engaging citizen scientists: a community-partnered research collaboration to address inequities for Black birthing people. Submitting to Maternal and Child Health Journal.
  2. Hager E, Lavage DR, Catov J, Miller E, Krishnamurti T, on behalf of the Pittsburgh Study Pregnancy CollaborativeBuilding Citizen Scientists to Address Preterm Birth Disparities: The Pittsburgh Study Pregnancy Collaborative Experience. In Draft. Targeted journals: Progress in Community Partnerships or Health Equity.
  3. Hager E, Fochek C, Klem ML, and Krishnamurti T, on behalf of the Pittsburgh Study Pregnancy Collaborative. Thriving in the peripartum period: a community-partnered concept analysis.  In Draft. Targeted journals: International Journal of Nursing Studies or BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth.

Explore additional TPS publications here.