Dartmouth Health and New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services launch initiative to improve maternal and infant health

Photo of mother holding newborn baby

The NHPQC will support New Hampshire hospitals and our communities in an effort to improve conditions inside and outside of hospitals and clinics, so everyone has a fair chance to be as healthy as possible.

Sally A. Kraft, MD, MPH

Dartmouth Health and the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and are taking a significant step towards addressing maternal mortality and morbidity with the launch of the New Hampshire Perinatal Quality Collaborative (NHPQC). Led by a team from Dartmouth Health Population Health and the DHHS Maternal and Child Health Program, the NHPQC aims to improve access to high-quality perinatal care and significantly reduce disparities for pregnant individuals and infants in the state.

“Every New Hampshire resident should have access to the best prenatal care, postpartum care, and birthing services they need to stay healthy. The Collaborative’s work will help make that a reality,” said Patricia Tilley, DHHS Associate Commissioner. “The Department is proud to partner with individuals and organizations throughout the state, including Dartmouth Health, to understand the challenges residents are facing, implement best practices, and knock down barriers to care.”

“The NHPQC is another example of the collaboration between DHHS and Dartmouth Health to improve health outcomes in our region,” said Sally A. Kraft, MD, MPH, Population Health Officer Dartmouth Health. “The NHPQC will support New Hampshire hospitals and our communities in an effort to improve conditions inside and outside of hospitals and clinics, so everyone has a fair chance to be as healthy as possible.”

The planning team, consisting of multidisciplinary professionals including community leaders and women with recent birthing experience, is working to create a collaborative that can effectively address the specific needs of pregnant individuals and infants in New Hampshire. In light of data presented in a newly released State of Maternal Health Report, the NHPQC recognizes that poor outcomes disproportionately impact individuals based on race/ethnicity, rurality, income level and insurance status, and aims to bridge these gaps. 

“In an innovative approach, the Collaborative is partnering with communities across the region to ensure all voices are at the table to craft the best approaches for addressing gaps to improve maternal care and outcomes,” said Julie S. Bosak, DrPH, CNM, Director of Regional Community Health at Dartmouth Health and Director of the NHPQC.  

All stakeholders, including hospitals, outpatient providers, social services, community organizations, government organizations, homebirth providers, and individuals with lived experience, will be involved in co-creating a framework for quality improvement across all settings where pregnant and postpartum people receive care. The NHPQC presents an opportunity to create a framework that will support ongoing collaborative community efforts to move improvements forward collectively statewide.

The NHPQC will also support ongoing statewide quality improvement initiatives, such as the implementation of AIM bundles, a national program of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, in collaboration with the Northern New England Quality Improvement Network and DHHS. Additionally, the NHPQC will prioritize underserved and marginalized communities, with a focus on community-driven approaches for implementing nationally recognized best practices in perinatal care.

The NHPQC’s first meeting will be March 4, 2024. This collaborative effort has been made possible through funding from DHHS and the generous support of an anonymous organization, which has donated funds to support the planning year until June 30, 2024.

The NHPQC is committed to creating a patient-centered system of care, improving outcomes, and ensuring that every pregnant person and infant in New Hampshire receives the highest quality perinatal care possible.

About Dartmouth Health

Dartmouth Health, New Hampshire's only academic health system and the state's largest private employer, serves patients across northern New England. Dartmouth Health provides access to more than 2,000 providers in almost every area of medicine, delivering care at its flagship hospital, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC) in Lebanon, NH, as well as across its wide network of hospitals, clinics and care facilities. DHMC is consistently named the #1 hospital in New Hampshire by U.S. News & World Report, and recognized for high performance in numerous clinical specialties and procedures. Dartmouth Health includes Dartmouth Cancer Center, one of only 56 National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers in the nation, and the only such center in northern New England; Dartmouth Health Children’s, which includes Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, the state’s only children’s hospital, and multiple clinic locations around the region; member hospitals in Lebanon, Keene and New London, NH, and Bennington and Windsor, VT; Visiting Nurse and Hospice for Vermont and New Hampshire; and more than 24 clinics that provide ambulatory services across New Hampshire and Vermont. Through its historical partnership with Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine, Dartmouth Health trains nearly 400 medical residents and fellows annually, and performs cutting-edge research and clinical trials recognized across the globe with Geisel and the White River Junction VA Medical Center in White River Junction, VT. Dartmouth Health and its more than 13,000 employees are deeply committed to serving the healthcare needs of everyone in our communities, and to providing each of our patients with exceptional, personal care.