NewYork-Presbyterian Obstetrics Chiefs Speak at 2019 Kickoff

January 14, 2019
Laura Riley, MD and Mary E. D'Alton, MD
Laura Riley, MD and Mary E. D'Alton, MD

NewYork-Presbyterian held their annual NYP Kickoff event at the Hilton Midtown on January 9, 2019. This event offered an opportunity for managers, physicians, board trustees, and medical school leaders to hear about the highlights and lessons learned from the past year, as well as future plans and the vision for the upcoming year. Mary E. D’Alton, MD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, and Laura Riley, MD, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Weill Cornell Medicine, spoke at this year’s kickoff about the progress made to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity and the important work still ahead.

Currently, New York State is ranked 30th for maternal mortality in the nation. However, this was not always the case. In 2013, New York State was ranked 48th in the nation, and Drs. D’Alton and Riley were determined to do something about it.

“I thought to myself, I practice here, I’m a woman leader,” said Dr. D’Alton. “If I couldn’t do anything about it, I couldn’t expect anyone else to. So I dove in.”

In that same year, NYP/CUIMC hosted the first working group for obstetric leaders and anesthesiologists across the state, a group that later became known as the Safe Motherhood Initiative, funded by Merck for Mothers.

By mid-2013, the Safe Motherhood Initiative developed and implemented three “bundles” to address the preventable maternal causes of death: hemorrhage, severe hypertension, and pulmonary embolism. A bundle is “a systematic way of providing evidence-based practices and doing them consistently in every patient at every time,” Dr. D’Alton explained. By 2016, 93 percent, or 117 of 126 hospitals of obstetric hospitals in New York State, had implemented these bundles.

In addition to these efforts, the Safe Motherhood Initiative advocated for a systematic review of every maternal death, as lessons learned are translated into better clinical practices. Their efforts were a success and this past year, New York City announced that they will conduct reviews of all cases of maternal death. Drs. D’Alton and Riley hope that this will be implemented into all of New York State in the coming months.

Drs. D’Alton and Riley share the same vision for 2019: to be #1 in maternal care. Since NYP is the largest provider of women’s services in New York City’s five boroughs, and the obstetric leader with over 25,000 deliveries, NYP is well-positioned to achieve this goal. In addition, NYP/CUIMC opened the first-of-its-kind Mothers Center this past year, a space that provides comprehensive, multidisciplinary care for pregnant women with medical or surgical complications. A first-of-its-kind approach to maternal care, the Mothers Center consolidates all relevant specialists in the same location, where they work collaboratively to manage patients’ treatment.

NewYork-Presbyterian, in collaboration with Columbia and Weill Cornell, will continue to find ways to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in New York State and is well on their way to becoming #1 in maternal care in 2019.