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KBIA’s Health & Wealth Desk covers the economy and health of rural and underserved communities in Missouri and beyond. The team produces a weekly radio segment, as well as in-depth features and regular blog posts. The reporting desk is funded by a grant from the University of Missouri, and the Missouri Foundation for Health.Contact the Health & Wealth desk.

Missouri maternal mortality review board makes report available in Spanish for first time

A pregnant woman holds her belly in front of a white curtain backdrop

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services’ Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review Board has made its most recent annual report available in Spanish.

The Pregnancy Associated Mortality Review program, or PAMR, aims to improve data collection around maternal mortality in Missouri with the goal of reducing preventable maternal deaths across the state. The PAMR report is published annually – but the 2018-2020 report, originally published in English in 2023, is the first to be translated into Spanish.

Ashlie Otto, maternal mortality coordinator for DHSS, said that the PAMR team wanted to reach the roughly 3% of Missouri residents who speak Spanish as their primary language – the number one language other than English spoken in Missouri households.

“We know that women and birthing people gather their information on pregnancy, delivery and postpartum through family members. So, I think it's imperative that DHSS informs the public about public health and safety and communicating this info to community members. How they understand is so essential,” Otto said.

The report contains the same information and data as the English report, just translated into Spanish. Infographics and datasets within the report have been translated as well, allowing Spanish-language readers to comprehend all the available data and learn more about PAMR and DHSS maternal health programs.

Otto said that she and the PAMR team hope this will allow Spanish-speaking Missourians to learn more about the leading causes of pregnancy-related mortality.

“A lot of the report describes the work that is going on, but also recommendations to help prevent those causes of death so community members can work together,” Otto said. “They can help support pregnant and postpartum individuals by implementing those recommendations.”

Otto also acknowledged the role that KBIA played in making the report available: during an interview for a story on Hispanic maternal mortality rates, reporters Anna Spidel and Kassidy Arena asked PAMR data scientists Karen Harbert and Daniel Quay whether they had considered publishing the annual report in Spanish.

Shortly after the interview, Harbert and Quay informed KBIA that PAMR had secured funding to translate the report.

“We love getting feedback from community, our stakeholders,” Otto said. “And that was feedback from you like: hey, when is the report maybe going to be in a different language?”

The 2018-2020 Spanish report, as well as all English PAMR reports, can be found at: https://health.mo.gov/data/pamr/

Anna Spidel is a health reporter for the KBIA Health & Wealth desk. A proud Michigander, Anna hails from Dexter, Michigan and received her Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from Michigan State University in 2022. Previously, she worked with member station Michigan Radio as an assistant producer on Stateside.
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