Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force

Identifying Maternal Deaths in Texas Using an Enhanced Method, 2012 

A new study by researchers at the Texas Department of State Health Services entitled Identifying Maternal Deaths in Texas Using an Enhanced Method, 2012 has found the number of maternal deaths in Texas in 2012 was actually less than half the number previously reported. The peer-reviewed research, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, determined there were 56 maternal deaths among Texas residents compared with 147 reported in national statistics. The article is available for download at https://journals.lww.com/greenjournal/toc/publishahead 

Background and Purpose

The Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force was created by Senate Bill 495, 83rd Legislature, Regular Session, 2013. The multidisciplinary task force within the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) will study maternal mortality and morbidity. The task force will study and review cases of pregnancy-related deaths and trends in severe maternal morbidity, determine the feasibility of the task force studying cases of severe maternal morbidity, and make recommendations to help reduce the incidence of pregnancy-related deaths and severe maternal morbidity in Texas. The task force and DSHS must submit a joint report on the findings of the task force and recommendations to the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker of the House of Representatives, and appropriate committees of the Texas Legislature by September 1 of each even-numbered year, beginning September 1, 2016.

Members of the task force were appointed by the DSHS commissioner. Task force members appointed by the commissioner serve six-year staggered terms. In making the initial appointments, the commissioner designated five members to serve terms expiring February 1, 2015, four members to serve terms expiring February 1, 2017, and four members to serve terms expiring February 1, 2019.

Current Members

Dr. Lisa Hollier, Chair, Physician specializing in Obstetrics, maternal fetal medicine specialist, Houston
Dr. Carla Ortique, Vice Chair, Physician specializing in Obstetrics, Houston
Dr. Manda Hall, DSHS representative - Associate Commissioner Community Health Improvement Division, Austin
Dr. Meitra Doty, Physician specializing in Psychiatry, Dallas
Dr. Linda Gaul, DSHS representative - State Epidemiologist, Austin
Ms. June Hanke, Community Advocate, Houston
Dr. Pamala Gessling, Registered Nurse, Dallas
Dr. James Maher, Physician specializing in Obstetrics, Maternal-Fetal Medicine specialist, Odessa
Dr. D. Kimberley Molina, Medical Examiner, San Antonio
Dr. Ronald Peron, Physician specializing in Family Practice, Greenville
Dr. Amy Raines Milenkov, Researcher of pregnancy-related deaths, Fort Worth
Dr. Patrick Ramsey, Physician specializing in Maternal-Fetal Medicine, San Antonio
Ms. Nancy Jo Reedy, Certified Nurse-Midwife, Arlington
Ms. Nancy Alderman, Social Worker, Austin
Dr. Eumenia Castro, Pathologist, Houston

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force Legislative Reports

Maternal Mortality and Moribidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services Joint Biennial Report, July 2016

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force Report, September 2014

Maternal Mortality in Texas: Using Precision Public Health to Improve Maternal Outcomes (with Appendix) 

Explanation of methodologies and sources used in various interpretations of the rates of maternal mortality and related causes and risk factors in Texas, as well as examples of activities and collaborations (planned or already in place) directly related to the recommendations made by the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force.

Maternal Mortality in Texas: Using Precision Public Health to Improve Maternal Outcomes

Appendix – Maternal Mortality in Texas:  A Comparison of Maternal Mortality Rate Change Using Different Methods 

Responding to Data Requests from the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force - A Learning Module for Facilities

The Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has developed a webinar to provide an overview of the charge and authority of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force, to discuss the function of the Task Force as Quality Assurance, to provide an overview of maternal mortality and morbidity statistics for Texas, and to provide information for facilities regarding requests for medical records for this purpose from DSHS. Download a PDF version of the webinar at the link below:

DSHS Webinar on Maternal Mortality Task Force (PDF 288 KB)

More Information

Please contact MaternalHealth@DSHS.state.tx.us

Last updated April 25, 2018