Dr. Renata Sawyer, left, meets with Congresswoman Susan Brooks with other OB physicians.

Renata Sawyer, MD, Beacon Medical Group Maternal Fetal Medicine, recently attended the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ 36th annual Congressional Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. The goal of the event is to show elected officials a strong physician presence on Capitol Hill and to highlight policies that significantly impact women’s health. 

Drs. Carlos Bolden and Renata Sawyer representing northern Indiana in Washington.

During the three-day conference last month, Dr. Sawyer met with Senator Todd Young, Congresswoman Jackie Walorski, Congresswoman Susan Brooks, as well as with a representative from the office of Senator Joe Donnelly to garner support for the Maternal Health Accountability Act and the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act. Dr. Carlos Bolden, who is a Memorial Hospital medical staff member and assists with the hospital’s OB hospitalists program, also represented Northern Indiana at the conference with Dr. Sawyer.

The Maternal Health Accountability Act and the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act are aimed at assisting states in creating or expanding Maternal Mortality Review Committees with the ultimate goal of reversing American’s rising rates of maternal mortality.

There’s a big reason this is such an important issue in Indiana.

Indiana has the sixth-highest maternal mortality rate in the country.

Sawyer said there is an effort already under way at the state level to form a Maternal Mortality Review Committee, which she believes will help identify how to make pregnancies safer and prevent tragic outcomes. This committee would bring together OB/GYNs, nurses, social workers and other health care professional to review individual maternal deaths and recommend policy solutions to prevent them in the future.

“Other states have had success in this area, and we are hoping for success in Indiana,” she said.

“Nobody expects young pregnant women or young mothers to die in a developed world because of the pregnancy. We have highly trained personnel, blood banks, a wide array of pharmaceuticals and state-of-the-art facilities,” Dr. Sawyer said. “Yet our nation’s maternal mortality rate is rising alarmingly and more women in the U.S. die from pregnancy complications than in any other developed country. Our professional and moral obligation is to combat maternal mortality.”