Innovating for Moms and Their Babies

Assistant Professor Amy E. McKeever, PhD, RN, CRNP, WHNP-BC



“Women who fail to receive prenatal care or education are also more likely to have complex social backgrounds as well as pre-existing chronic health conditions such as anemia, hypertension and diabetes. This comes at a high cost in human and financial terms,” notes Dr. Amy E. McKeever. In her practice in Philadelphia, she sees the socioeconomic barriers faced by low-income Latina patients.

Infant prematurity is the leading cause of neonatal death in the United States, resulting in 1 million deaths annually. Dr. Amy E. McKeever, a women’s health nurse practitioner in obstetrics and gynecology, wants to get moms healthy before pregnancy and reduce infant mortality and morbidity. In her Philadelphia practice, she primarily sees low-income Latina women before, during and after pregnancy. Many face socioeconomic barriers to care, jeopardizing their health and the health of their children. Current research supports her observations that preterm birth and maternal and infant complications are related to the health of the mother. If the mother can be kept healthy before and between pregnancies, complications decrease.

Dr. McKeever, who has also done research related to cervical cancer risk reduction, is ultimately working toward developing a model of care and education for women in adolescence and young adulthood, a model that can reduce infant mortality and morbidity. With a goal of keeping moms healthy, this spring she is initiating a quantitative pilot study to assess the learning needs and barriers to care of a high-risk, low-income female population. Next, she will pursue a federal grant to investigate the efficacy of an enhanced prenatal model of care incorporating culturally appropriate, community peer pregnancy mentors and nurses. Later she will conduct a qualitative study to evaluate the experiences of the women in the program. In the end, she hopes to help transform prenatal care with interventions that reverse these alarming birth statistics and improve health outcomes for mothers and babies.