Baltimore organization working to reduce maternal hypertension


Nicole Pasia


Baltimore Healthy Start has been selected as a Phase 1 winner for a $3.3 million award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health this month. The HHS Hypertension Innovator Award Competition will offer funds to support organizations that “demonstrate sustainability and the ability to replicate and/or expand programs that provide effective monitoring and follow-up of hypertension for women who are pregnant and/or postpartum.”


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Since submissions for the competitions closed in January, HHS has identified 20 organizations nationwide that successfully address hypertension in pregnant and postpartum patients. According to HHS: 

“[Baltimore Healthy Start] services more than 20,000 pregnant and postpartum women and utilizes comprehensive home-based case management and care coordination throughout the prenatal and postpartum periods to identify clinical risk factors, like preeclampsia, and other forms of maternal morbidity. This program succeeded in improving hypertension in pregnancy, with 31.1% showing improvement in blood pressure readings throughout their time in the program.”

A majority (98%) of Baltimore Healthy Start’s targeted communities are African-American, and over one third of those residents are in poverty, with an median income of $22,629 (average family income in Baltimore City is $30,078). The organization’s website also states its residents suffer infant mortality at least 1.5 times more than the national average. 

Phase 2 of the competition will focus on expanding the winning organizations’ service reach until February 2022. Afterwards, the organizations will demonstrate the success of their expansion attempts in Phase 3 over the next year, with final winners announced in February 2023. For more information about the HHS Hypertension Innovator Award Competition, visit