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Advisor: Mona Sarfaty, MD, FAAFP, Department of Family and Community Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University


Since 1997, 19 maternity wards have closed in Southeastern Pennsylvania, leaving only 23 to serve the women and families in the area. Additionally, there have been reports of maternal health workforce shortages, causing many women difficulty in accessing the care they need. This aims of this qualitative study were to define the problem of maternal health workforce shortages in the region and to identify potential solutions. Ten key stakeholders were identified for participation. A single researcher conducted interviews using a structured interview guide. Results were analyzed for content and major themes by two researchers. The eight sections include: 1. preconception counseling and postpartum care, 2. prenatal care, 3. post-partum care, 4. workforce development and retention, 5. defining shortages and implications, 6. understanding shortages, 7. approaching solutions and 8. stakeholders and problem-solvers. This study confirmed that there are workforce shortages, and that root causes are multi-factorial, with system, provider, and patient levels. Potential solutions include tort reform, improving structural relationships, increasing interdisciplinary collaboration, improving communication, and raising community awareness. Such efforts will require collaboration among multiple stakeholder groups, most notable patients and providers.

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