AWHONN Awarded Merck for Mothers Grant For Empowering Women to Obtain Needed Care: Implementation and Evaluation Project


The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) has been awarded a grant from Merck for Mothers to advance awareness of AWHONN’s POST-BIRTH Warning Signs online education course and resources.  The Merck for Mothers grant will be used to support and ensure widespread dissemination of education resources for new mothers and their families, and to evaluate the effectiveness of this project on reducing maternal morbidity and mortality nationally.

The increase of maternal deaths in the United States is at crisis level.  AWHONN is committed to reversing the rising trend of maternal mortality through research, education and resources.  “Tragically, approximately 700 women in the United States die each year from pregnancy related complications.  For African American women, the mortality rate is three to four times higher.   With this support from Merck for Mothers, AWHONN will continue our work to empower women to recognize and act on warning signs of complications in the postpartum period,” said

Cheryl Roth, PhD, WHNP-BC, RNC-OB, RNFA, AWHONN 2019 President.

The AWHONN Empowering Women to Obtain Needed Care Implementation and Evaluation Project is being launched as a Quality Improvement (QI) initiative.  The goals of this project are to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity through standardized and structured dissemination of the AWHONN POST-BIRTH Warning Signs online education course and parent resources within a national hospital cohort, and to evaluate the effectiveness of the education for postpartum women being discharged from selected hospitals across the United States. The evaluative phase of this project will provide valuable information regarding mothers’ ability to access care they require based on their identification of POST-BIRTH Warning Signs that were emphasized during their hospital discharge education process.

“Through this project, AWHONN continues to demonstrate its commitment and leadership to improve maternal outcomes and dramatically reduce maternal deaths.  Nurses play a critical role in helping mothers heed potentially life-threatening signs and obtain life-saving care. We are eager to continue our collaboration with Merck for Mothers and our partners in this very important work,” said Suzanne Berry, MBA, CAE, AWHONN Chief Executive Officer.

Merck for Mothers is proud to support AWHONN in its efforts to ensure that women and their caregivers have the information that they need to recognize warning signs in the postpartum period. Any woman could have complications after giving birth and AWHONN’s education resources place this information in the hands of who needs it the most,” said Mary-Ann Etiebet, Executive Director, Merck for Mothers.

Outcomes from the Merck for Mothers Grant will include collaborative efforts from Premier, the National Birth Equity Collaborative and the Black Women’s Health Imperative.

Merck for Mothers is Merck’s $500 million initiative to help create a world where no woman dies giving life.  Merck for Mothers is known as MSD for Mothers outside the United States and Canada.

The Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit membership organization. Our mission is to empower and support nurses caring for women, newborns, and their families through research, education, and advocacy.


For more information, please contact Shannon Doolin at 202-261-2410 or