A Special UNA-NY
CSW62 Panel

America's Maternal Death Rate:
What's Behind it and How to Prevent It

Associate Professor
Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology
Columbia University Medical Center

Women's Health Research Institute
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Vice President of Health Policy
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

RN at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Survivor of placenta accreta

moderated by

Staff Reporter, ProPublica



Wednesday, March 21, 2018

10:30 a.m. | Panel Presentation

UN Church Center
777 United Nations Plaza (corner of 44th Street & First Avenue)
Second Floor
New York, NY


General Admission: FREE

Click here to register

The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will take place at UN Headquarters in New York. The CSW is an international conference held annually at the UN, bringing together thousands of delegates from all over the world. The theme of the conference this year will be to focus on Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.

Among several organizations selected by the CSW Committee to participate this year, UNA-NY will present a session called America's Maternal Death Rate: What's Behind it and How to Prevent It. Aligned with this year's conference theme, the presenting panel's discussion will remedy the general lack of awareness about life-threatening pregnancy-related complications facing women in various areas in the U.S. 


Annie Waldman is a staff reporter at ProPublica. She was previously a senior reporting fellow, working on both data and education projects. She recently was part of the ProPublica team that spent a year investigating maternal mortality across the country.

A piece she published with The New York Times on a New Jersey student debt agency prompted a new law and several new bills, aimed at increasing consumer protections for student borrowers and their families. Following her reporting on the largest accreditor of for-profit colleges, the U.S. Department of Education stripped the agency of its powers.

She has been a finalist twice and won two awards from the Education Writers Association for her education reporting. She has won an award from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers and was a finalist for the Loeb Awards for her reporting with Paul Kiel and Al Shaw on the racial disparity of wage garnishment.

Prior to joining ProPublica, she was a recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship to Israel, where she reported on the plight of refugees from Darfur and Eritrea. She was also a recipient of a residency at Cité International des Arts in Paris, France. She had a documentary film in the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, on the lives of homeless high school students after Hurricane Katrina, which was later broadcast nationally on PBS.

She graduated with honors from the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism and the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia, where she was the recipient of the Pulitzer Traveling Fellowship and the Brown Institute Computational Journalism Award. Her stories have been published in The New York Times, the Atlantic, Vice, BBC News, The Chronicle of Higher Education and Consumer Reports.


Dena Goffman, MD, graduated from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at New York Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center. She went on to complete a fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine with additional training in Critical Care Medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center.

Dr. Goffman is currently the Chief of Obstetrics and Associate Professor in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Sloane Hospital for Women at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center and the Associate Chief Quality Officer for Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital & Sloane Hospital for Women. She has a strong interest in improving patient safety and quality in obstetrics and decreasing severe maternal morbidity and mortality. Much of her work focuses on the use of simulation, team training and implementation of evidence based guidelines to achieve this goal.

Dr. Goffman has been an active member of the New York State-Department of Health and The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists District II Safe Motherhood Initiative, as a Maternal Mortality Reviewer, a member of the Critical Care Sub-Committee, co-chair of the Hypertensive Disease and Pregnancy Sub-Committee and frequent lecturer. She acted as a steering committee member for the NYS SMI endeavor, as well as Co-chair of the Obstetric Hemorrhage group for this state-wide program.

Additionally, she is active nationally and internationally in Obstetric Simulation serving as a Simulation Subcommittee Member for the Society of Maternal Fetal Medicine, former Co-chair of the OB-GYN Special Interest Group for the Society for Simulation in Healthcare and current Vice chair (and incoming chair) for the ACOG Simulation Working Group. She serves as faculty for many of the prominent national OB simulation opportunities including the ACOG ACM Obstetric Emergency Simulation Course, SMFM Critical Care Obstetric Simulation course at the Annual Pregnancy Meeting and the Banner/SMFM Annual Course in Phoenix.

Dr. Goffman has a particular interest in Obstetric Hemorrhage, one of the leading causes of preventable maternal morbidity and mortality. She served as a Co-chair of the Obstetric Hemorrhage group for the New York State Safe Motherhood Initiative and currently serves on the OB hemorrhage Clinical Advisory Work Group for the NYS Department of Health. She was a core member of the National Partnership for Maternal Safety Obstetric Hemorrhage work group and co-authored the recent Postpartum Hemorrhage ACOG Practice Bulletin.

Elizabeth Howell, MD, MPP, is a Professor in the Departments of Population Health Science & Policy and Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Science, Director of the Women's Health Research Institute, and Associate Dean for Academic Development at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

She is a NIH-funded ob/gyn health services researcher and her research addresses quality of care and racial/ethnic disparities in maternal and child health. She has served on several expert committees including for the Institute of Medicine, NIH, the Joint Commission, the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, international external scientific advisory boards, and editorial boards.

She was Co-Chair for the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health Working Group on Reduction of Peripartum Racial Disparities. This national partnership included leading experts in maternal health and disparities and was charged with the development of a consensus statement aimed at reducing disparities in maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States.

Dr. Howell has appeared as an expert on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health on The Today Show, NBC Nightly News, ProPublica, WNYC, Essence Magazine, as well numerous other media and social media outlets.

Dr. Howell received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and received her medical and public policy degrees at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. She received her residency training at Cornell /New York Hospital and is a board certified obstetrician gynecologist. Dr. Howell received her post doctoral training in clinical epidemiology as a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar at Yale Medical School.

Barbara Levy, MD, Vice President, Health Policy, oversees the Office of Global Women's Health programs of The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), to improve the status of women's health worldwide. She has over 25 years' experience with direct care, research, and physician training. Dr. Levy is also experienced in leading initiatives in international and domestic health, corporate social responsibility, public-private partnerships, government relations, and advocacy. Recognized in 2015 by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the 50 Most Influential Physician Executive and Leaders, Dr. Levy supervises ACOG's Office of Global Women's Health programs to improve patient safety and quality of women's health worldwide. Dr. Levy also supervises The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health program (AIM), Voluntary Review of Quality of Care, the Safety Certification for Outpatient Practice Excellence for Women's Health (SCOPE) program, the American Indian/Alaska Native Women's Health Program, the Health Economics department, the Strategic Health Care Initiatives department and the Health Information Technology (HIT) and Clinical Informatics department.

Before joining ACOG, Dr. Levy was in private ob-gyn practice and the medical director of the Women's Health and Breast Center and Women's and Children's Services for the Franciscan Health System in Tacoma, Washington. Dr. Levy has been a member of the American Medical Association/Specialty Society Relative Value Scale Update Committee (RUC) since 1999 and has just completed serving two consecutive terms as Chair of the RUC. She has published and co-authored over 85 studies and articles related to her primary research interests, which include hysterectomy, endoscopic surgery, pelvic pain, surgical outcomes, and physician payment policy.

Dr. Levy graduated magna cum laude with an undergraduate degree in psychology from Princeton University. She obtained her medical degree from the University of California, San Diego, followed by an internship and residency in ob-gyn at the University of Oregon Health Sciences Center (now the Oregon Health & Sciences University) in Portland. Dr. Levy is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is certified with Accreditation Council for Gynecologic Endoscopy with specialties in Advance Operative Laparoscopy and Advanced Operative Hysteroscopy.

Vicki McGuire graduated from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck NJ with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing. Vicki is currently a critical care float nurse at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick N.J.

Vicki is the wife of Stephen and mother of three children, Angelina, Stephen and Molly. In 2012, while pregnant with her youngest child, she was diagnosed with a rare pregnancy complication called placenta accreta. She endured over 13 weeks in the hospital away from her husband and two older children. In order to survive, Vicki required a Cesarean section and subsequent hysterectomy and bladder resection. She also needed 20 units of blood products and an overnight in the ICU for the highest level of monitoring immediately after the delivery.

One in fourteen women diagnosed with placenta accreta will die. This reality has been the driving force behind Vicki's new calling to advocate for maternal heath and blood drives. Vicki is the New Jersey chapter leader for the Hope for Accreta Foundation. She has told her story of surviving placenta accreta on Capital Hill in support of H.R. 1318 Preventing Matenral Death Acts of 2017. Vicki has been influential in numerous blood drives and recently was the guest speaker for the 2018 Central Jersey Blood Center Apheresis Award ceremony.

NOTE: Please remember that your registration represents your commitment to attend this event — however, if you have registered and cannot attend, please notify us at the earliest possible notice, to enable others to attend.






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UNA-NY in CSW62:
Panel on U.S. Maternal Mortality




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