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Penn Medicine received a $19 million grant to establish an implementation science hub, part of the National Institutes of Health's ‘Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE)’ Initiative. Credit: Kylie Cooper

Penn Medicine received a $19 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to establish a Maternal Health Implementation Science Hub at Penn Medicine.

The National Institutes of Health are funding ten Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence, along with a data innovation hub and an implementation science hub, as part of their ‘Implementing a Maternal Health and Pregnancy Outcomes Vision for Everyone (IMPROVE)’ Initiative. This initiative aims to support research that aids in reducing pregnancy-related complications, as well as advancing maternal health equity.

The ten centers of excellence include several other prestigious institutions, such as Columbia University, Stanford University, and the Avera McKennan Hospital. Johns Hopkins University will serve as the data innovation hub, responsible for providing valuable insights into data science and maintenance and collecting of high quality data. Penn Medicine will be the implementation science hub, putting the findings and evidence into public health practice.

The implementation science hub team will be led by two professors at the Perelman School of Medicine: Meghan Lane-Fall, the David E. Longnecker Associate Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care, and Rebecca Feldman Hamm, an assistant professor of maternal fetal medicine. 

The hub, called AMETHIST@Penn (Achieving Maternal Equity and Transforming Health through Implementation Science and Training), will focus on bringing findings into community settings and clinical practices while working on research with the other centers.

Dr. Lane-Fall is a strong advocate of implementation science and the integration of science into communities.

“While there have been great strides and increased focus in advancing our understanding of maternal health, especially in the last few years, without the ability to integrate our knowledge and findings into practice, there is no benefit to patients,” Lane-Fall told the Almanac. “This is why implementation science is so important — it helps ramp up the pathway from research to clinical care.”

This latest grant supplements Penn's extensive research efforts in maternal health. These efforts encompass various projects aimed at tackling racial disparities in maternal health outcomes, assessing cardiovascular risks among expectant mothers, and closely monitoring placental health to enhance the measurement and prediction of pregnancies at high risk.

Diana W. Bianchi, director of the NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, recognizes the importance of such grants and their impact on the community.

“Through collaborations with community partners and others, the Maternal Health Research Centers of Excellence will generate critical scientific evidence to help guide clinical care and reduce health disparities during and after pregnancy,” Bianchi told Forbes Magazine.