A Letter to the Maternal Health Community

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Dear MHTF friends and colleagues,

During the past three years, the MHTF has built vital connections among maternal health initiatives and engaged global and national experts to pinpoint problems facing the maternal health community and identify solutions to significantly improve maternal health. Together with our partners, we have made considerable progress, including:

  • Co-hosted with the Public Health Foundation of India, a Global Maternal Health Conference which brought 700 experts and members of allied fields together to share lessons learned, discuss neglected issues, and highlight innovations to advance maternal health.
  • Organized 12 events to date at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as part of a new Maternal Health Policy Dialogue Series, in partnership with UNFPA.
  • Launched Young Champions of Maternal Health, the first international fellowship to support a new generation of leaders dedicated to improving maternal health.
  • Supported more than 25 projects intended to fill knowledge gaps, promote dialogue and consensus, and foster innovation in the maternal health field.
  • Developed a dynamic knowledge management system, www.maternalhealthtaskforce.org, which houses a robust e-library, interactive maps, blog posts, and more.

The MHTF is drawing to a close at EngenderHealth in April 2012, however the good news is that the project will continue at the Harvard School of Public Health, which is uniquely positioned to host the next phase of the Maternal Health Task Force. In the Harvard School of Public Health announcement, it states:

A new three-year, $12 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will support a Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) effort to significantly improve maternal health in developing countries. The project will be led by Dr. Ana Langer, professor of the practice of public health and coordinator of the Dean’s Special Initiative on Women and Health at HSPH.

The complete announcement can be found on our website.

Based on the findings and feedback we have received over the past three years, the MHTF has discovered that the maternal health field is calling for significant implementation research on systematically programming proven interventions that improve maternal health around the world. The field is also calling for more scholarship and educational opportunities focused on maternal health.

At HSPH, the MHTF will design and roll out an implementation research agenda with partners working in some of the most high-burden countries, specifically India, Ethiopia, and Nigeria. Additional priorities will be the design of a course curriculum dedicated to maternal health, a scholarship program for the continuing education of maternal health professionals, and a renewal of the Young Champions program. Dialogues on neglected and emerging maternal health issues, and a range of technical meetings and conferences are also on the agenda for the next phase of the MHTF at HSPH.

The transition of the MHTF from EngenderHealth to the Harvard School of Public Health will happen over a six-month period, starting November 1 during which the MHTF will operate jointly by HSPH and EngenderHealth. We’re working closely with our HSPH colleagues to ensure a very smooth transition.

The MHTF website will continue to operate throughout the transition as will our primary communications tools: The MHTF Buzz, the monthly newsletter, and the blog.

We have enjoyed an incredibly productive three years at EngenderHealth, the organization we will always call the birthplace of the MHTF. Please stay tuned to our website during this transition – your input and involvement will continue to be essential as the MHTF shifts to its new home.


With best wishes,

Ann K. Blanc, PhD.

The Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth