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ST. LOUIS – St. Louis City and County doctors are revamping the way they care for Black women saving babies’ lives as a result. This new concept is now going statewide as a way to end systemic racism in healthcare.

A program called Ele-VATE uses a group approach to prenatal care led by other African American mothers. Doctors say data shows women who get their prenatal care in groups have much better pregnancy outcomes. Specifically, Black women who get their care in groups have a 45% reduction in having a preterm birth.

Ele-VATE is now in eight prenatal sites across St. Louis City and County.

Dr. Ebony Carter, a high-risk OB at Washington University Medical School in St. Louis, just received a $3 million grant to study how the program can improve pregnancy outcomes and cut down on postpartum depression.

Ele-VATE stands for Elevating Voices, Addressing Depression, Toxic Stress, and Equity.

The preterm birth rate for women who got traditional individual care was 18%. The preterm birth rate for women in the Ele-VATE program was 0%. Not a single patient had a preterm birth.

Dr. Carter contends clinicians are the ones who needed to change their approach. They are now adding the mental health aspect into the group care and addressing the traumas many of these women have experienced in their lives.