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Advancing Health Equity in the NICU

Racism and inequity perpetuate a devastating cycle that includes disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes. Below, Dr. Jochen Profit, CPQCC's Chief Quality Officer, discusses why we must act to combat racism and advance health equity in the NICU.

Below are some of the ways that CPQCC is addressing structural and individual racism in the NICU and advancing health equity for all vulnerable infants.

 Health Equity Dashboard


CPQCC's Health Equity Dashboard provides member hospitals with a snapshot of health equity in their NICU. The Health Equity Dashboard, now available as the first report you see when you log on to CPQCC’s NICU Reports site, displays key process and outcome measures by race and ethnicity to allow NICUs to see if and where disparities in care exist. Watch a video overview of the Health Equity Dashboard >>>

Health Equity Taskforce

CPQCC's Health Equity Taskforce was formed to find solutions that advance health equity and improve care outcomes for small and sick newborns and their families across California. The 31-member task force is a multidisciplinary, multi-stakeholder effort that engages providers and family representatives from across the state and includes leadership from both CPQCC and CMQCC. The taskforce has three subgroups that actively work on issues of equity between NICUswithin NICUs, and during the transition to home.

Research conducted by CPQCC has found differences in care between hospitals, with hospitals which score low on overall quality of care tending to treat more Black and Hispanic infants, and within hospitals, with vulnerable families receiving different and suboptimal care. Considerable disparities in the referral of vulnerable infants to follow-up care post discharge have also been found.

We invite interested NICU healthcare professionals and NICU families to join one of the three subgroups to help us discover and implement solutions that advance health equity in the NICU. Click on the interest form below and a member of the CPQCC team will contact you shortly.


Family-Centered Care

A 2018 CPQCC study of 324 narrative accounts of disparate care witnessed by family advocates revealed that disparate care is often targeted at the families of NICU infants and not the infants themselves, suggesting the need for NICU care that is more equitable, more inclusive of families from all backgrounds, and more responsive to the individual needs and circumstances of families.  To this end, CPQCC has:

  • Partnered with NICU families to develop electronic health record (EHR)- derived quality measures to assess the extent to which NICUs are engaging diverse families as active partners in care. CPQCC is currently piloting three of these measures (days to first skin-to-skin care, time to priming with oral colostrum, delayed social worker encounter) with select NICUs across California. Email if you are interested in piloting these measures in your NICU.
  • Developed a tip sheet with ten suggestions on how NICUs can improve family-centered care and ensure that it addresses the needs of diverse families. Read more about the Family-Centered Care Tip Sheet >>