Westchester Medical Center hosts US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand for Announcement on Mom’s Matter Act to Support Pregnant Women and Moms

The United States continues to have the highest rate of maternal mortality in the developed world, driven in large part by the high mortality rates among women of color. Gillibrand’s approach would support mothers at every step of their maternal health care journey and help address racial disparities in maternal health by awarding grants to grow and diversify the maternal health workforce and working to eliminate racial bias in maternal care.

The leaders were joined by Assemblymember MaryJane Shimsky, Deputy County Executive Ken Jenkins, WMCHealth President and CEO Michael Israel, Westchester Medical Center OB/GYN Director Dr. Sean Tedjarati and Dr. Catherine Daniels-Brady, psychiatrist at WMCHealth Behavioral Health Center.

“More people in the United States die from pregnancy-related complications than in any of our peer countries — this is outrageous and downright shameful. We must do more to support and listen to women and pregnant people at every step of their maternal health journey,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I’m fighting to include nearly $180 million in the end-of-year spending bill to help implement evidence-based health care standards for all women, no matter their race or ethnicity. I’m also pushing to pass the Moms Matter Act to provide critical mental health and substance use disorder support to pregnant people and moms. I will never stop fighting to ensure every mother is heard and gets high-quality health care — no matter their race, socioeconomic status, or zip code.”  

“The Moms Matter Act, sponsored by Senator Gillibrand, represents a crucial step towards addressing the longstanding gap in mental health and overall well-being support for new mothers who have been historically underserved and excluded from accessing these vital resources,” stated New York State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “In our unwavering commitment to reproductive health, maternal care, and favorable pregnancy outcomes, my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Majority and I are dedicated to ensuring that every individual has unfettered access to life-saving information and high-quality care. We are equally devoted to enhancing and fortifying available resources to ensure that pregnant individuals across the state receive the comprehensive care they deserve. I applaud Senator Gillibrand for her invaluable contribution through this legislation and her tireless efforts to support mothers, not only in New York but also throughout our nation.”

“The bill proposed by U.S. Senator Gillibrand is coming at a crucial time in this country’s history as we are seeing increasing rates of mental health and substance use disorder among disenfranchised pregnant women leading to illness and even death,” said Michael D. Israel, President and CEO of Westchester Medical Center Health Network. “This bill aligns nicely with our recently launched Center for Women’s Health Equity which seeks to proactively eliminate the social, economic, cultural and racial determinants of health that can result in increased morbidity and mortality rates among pregnant women across the Hudson Valley. We applaud the Senator for her leadership on this issue and look forward to working with her now and into the future to address this public health crisis.”

Senator Gillibrand’s Moms Matter Act would establish two grant programs to support moms with maternal mental health conditions or substance use disorders by investing in community-based programs that provide mental and behavioral health treatments. Additionally, the bill would provide funding for programs to grow and diversify the maternal mental and behavioral health care workforce in an effort to ensure quality, culturally competent health care. 

For more information on the bill, please click here.