Mapping the Location of Health Centers in Relation to “Maternity Care Deserts”: Associations With Utilization of Women’s Health Providers and Services

Authors: Drishti Pillai, MPH | Anne R Markus, PhD, MHS, JD

Topics: Community Health Centers, Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSAs), Health Workforce Journal Supplement

Research Center: GW Health Workforce Research Center

October 1, 2022

According to the March of Dimes, a “maternity care desert” is “a county in which access to maternity health care services is limited or absent, either through lack of services or barriers to a woman’s ability to access that care.” Counties that are considered “limited access” or “deserts” have either limited or no access to hospitals with obstetric care, birth centers, or obstetric providers. Over 7 million women ages 15-44 lived in deserts/limited access counties.

This article explores how the distance from a community health center to a maternity care desert impacts utilization of maternity-related health care services.

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