For Immediate Release November 02, 2020


Jania Matthews:

Partnerships with two family supportive service collaborates in DC wards 7 and 8 helps extend access to critically needed services

CHEVERLY, MD (November 02, 2020) – University of Maryland Capital Region Health has expanded services to high-need communities in Washington DC's Wards 7 and 8 in partnership with the March of Dimes Mama and Baby Bus. The mobile unit is designed to provide access to care and meet the needs of women within the communities where they reside.

The expansion of services into wards 7 and 8 is part of the Better Starts for All initiative aimed at providing easier access to care for moms-to-be in maternity care deserts.

Partnerships with Marshall Heights Community Development Organization (MHCDO) in Ward 7 and Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative (FSFSC) in Ward 8, predominantly African American communities, emerged as opportunities for the mobile health program to provide comprehensive supportive care services to pregnant women in the communities in which they live.

"Establishing community partnerships and expanding access to care are among my priorities," says Nathaniel Richardson, Jr., President and CEO of UM Capital Region Health. "Forging relationships with like-minded organizations will help us on our path to meeting the needs of the community. I look forward to seeing our organization expand these types of partnerships in the future."

Racial disparities are a factor when talking about maternal mortality. Data from America's Health Rankings found that nearly 75 percent of mothers in the District of Columbia who died of complications from pregnancy, labor and childbirth between 2014 and 2016 were African American. Nationally, black women are three to four times more likely to die than white women.

"MHCDO is committed to improving the health outcomes in our community. MHCDO is excited to partner with UM Capital Region Health in bringing this service to Ward 7. Infant mortality is a serious health disparity facing the African American community," says Babatunde Oloyede, President and CEO at Marshall Heights Community Development Organization. "I truly believe that services such as the mobile health program can contribute to better health outcomes."

According to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in their 2019 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the majority of maternal deaths could be prevented by addressing access to appropriate and high-quality care, missed or delayed diagnoses, and lack of knowledge among patients and providers around warning signs.

"For years, Ward 8 has had the highest number of child births in the District, yet the poorest quality of prenatal care," says Dionne Bussey-Reeder, Executive Director for the Far Southeast Family Strengthening Collaborative. "This in itself is a reflection of the larger health disparities that plague residents in our community. I am excited to join a partnership with UM Capital Region Health because together we have an opportunity to impact change at a time where accessible health care is critically important."

March of Dimes Mama and Baby Bus is equipped with two private exam rooms and staffed by an experienced team of certified nurse midwives.

A highlight of some of the services offered for women and babies includes:

  • Group prenatal care
  • Well-woman exams and education
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Pregnancy care education
  • Birth control consultation
  • Infant care and well-child visits
  • Maternal and child health education
  • Care coordination and social support services

The mobile health program is provided through a partnership with the March of Dimes and at its inception was specifically designed to help uninsured and under-insured women throughout Prince George's County receive quality health care for themselves and their babies. The mobile unit provides healthcare services to women of childbearing-age, pregnant women, and babies aged 0 to 24 months.

"We will continue to serve women in Prince George's County," says Stacey Little, PhD, MPH, MSW, Vice President of Women's and Infants' Services and Community and Population Health for UM Capital Region Health. "Expanding access to care in DC's Wards 7 and 8 is a natural progression for us as a regional provider. We are committed to serving women and assisting them in gaining access to midwifery led supportive care in the communities where they live. We are simply excited to have this opportunity to extend our healthcare services through these partnerships."

All services are provided free of charge and no appointment is needed, although appointments are encouraged. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, safety practices have been heightened and implemented.

For more information about the March of Dimes Mama and Baby Bus and how to schedule an appointment, visit


About University of Maryland Capital Region Health

Providing primary and specialty health care services to Prince George's County and the neighboring area, University of Maryland Capital Region Health was established in September 2017 upon formal affiliation with the University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), and is committed to improving health outcomes in the communities it serves. University of Maryland Capital Region Health operates the University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center in Cheverly, University of Maryland Laurel Medical Center, University of Maryland Bowie Health Campus, and the University of Maryland Capital Region Medical Group with practice locations in Cheverly, Suitland, Bowie, Laurel and the National Harbor. Together, community physicians and University of Maryland School of Medicine (SOM) faculty provide clinical expertise across a range of specialties and programs including: acute rehabilitation; anesthesiology; critical and chronic ventilation care; emergency medicine; neonatology; orthopedics; and vascular surgery. University of Maryland Prince George's Hospital Center is home to the county's highest level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU); a certified and designated primary stroke center; the State's second-busiest trauma center and a highly regarded cardiac surgery program, which is led by faculty from the University of Maryland School of Medicine. A new state-of-the-art regional medical center is expected to open in Largo in summer 2021. For more information, visit