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Innovative Teaching Awards

Innovative Teaching Awards

Abating Maternal Mortality: Development of an Innovative Curriculum

Developed by: 

Teresa Wagner, DrPH, MS, CPH, RD/LD, CHWI – Assistant Professor/Senior Fellow for Health Literacy, SaferCare Texas, University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health 

Marie Stark, MSN, RNC-OB – Assistant Professor of Professional Practice, Texas Christian University, Harris College of Nursing 

The U.S. maternal death rate is too high. Disparities exist for black mothers, low-income women, women at extremes of maternal age & women from rural areas. Some definitions of maternal mortality extend to 365 days following pregnancy termination & it is estimated that 50% of maternal deaths are preventable. For women to receive appropriate postpartum care, health literacy – the ability to understand & use health information – must be considered. To reduce postpartum maternal mortality, women must receive better education of potential complications & access to care providers for individualized services & supports that are understandable & culturally relevant.  

In answer to this, this innovative curriculum was developed using an interactive learning module to teach graduate MCH & nursing students & community health workers critical thinking, communication & cultural competency skills, improving health literacy practices to increase women’s understanding of abnormal postpartum symptoms requiring emergency medical attention & their ability to seek adequate care. 

The full, updated online Curriculum– includes Pre-Test, PowerPoint with Instructor Notes & Lesson Plan, Post Test, Health Literacy Jeopardy and Reflection Paper & Rubric.


This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.