Empanelment Process

The Department of Health convenes a diverse and multidisciplinary Maternal Mortality Review Panel to conduct thorough reviews of maternal deaths in the state to:

  • Determine which deaths are related to pregnancy
  • Which deaths are preventable
  • Identify factors surrounding the deaths, and
  • Recommend health care and systems changes to improve maternal care in our state.

Expectations of members

  • Membership to the Panel is completely voluntary and nominees are appointed by the Secretary of Health to serve for a term of 3-5 years.
  • Panel members must be a provider of or advocate for maternal care and services, and/or death investigation.
  • OR must be a patient who has received obstetric/maternal care and represents populations most affected by pregnancy-related or pregnancy-associated deaths and lack of access to maternal health care services. In Washington, this includes women who have been pregnant and/or experienced childbirth AND
    • who are African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander and/or
    • On Medicaid/from low income backgrounds and/or
    • Have experienced mental and behavioral health conditions such as opioid use disorder or postpartum depression.
  • Panel members are required to:
    • Attend up to three in-person meetings in the Seattle and/or Tumwater area per year
    • Attend up to five online presentations per year
    • Respond to agency communications within 7 days.
  • Panel members serve in a variety of capacities, including attending the maternal mortality review meetings on a rotating basis, providing consultation as clinical or subject-matter experts, disseminating findings, and/or providing guidance on policy and legislative action.
  • Panel members must hold a current license from the Washington State Department of Health OR agree to provide at least three references for Department staff to contact and confirm information on application. This information is kept confidential and is not subject to public disclosure per RCW 70.54.450
  • If appointed to the Panel, members who do not respond to Department communications and/or who do not participate in at least 80 percent of activities will be assumed to no longer want to participate.
  • A Panel member may end their appointment at any time and for any reason.

To apply

  • Complete the online application. The application period closes October 15, 2019.
  • Current Panel members must reapply.
  • Agree to a screening process that includes:
    • An application follow-up telephone call with the Maternal Mortality Review Coordinator
    • Confirming state license by the Department of Health or references provided on the application
    • Review of application and screening findings by DOH staff who will recommend appointees to the Secretary of Health

Selection criteria

  • Shows ability and willingness to follow expectations and dedication to perinatal care and improving inequities in perinatal care.
  • Shows understanding of the issues that affect maternal health outcomes and disparities in maternal mortality.
  • Describes experiences and knowledge that will add to the Panel.
  • Contributes to the Panel's racial/ethnic, cultural, geographic, and professional diversity.
  • Confirmation of current license that is issued by the Washington State Department of Health or passes review of references.
  • The Department anticipates more applicants than the total 50 open spots. Selection will include fulfillment of percentage of professional types on the Panel:
    • 2+ Tribal representatives
    • 2-4 maternal fetal medicine providers
    • 8-10 women's, perinatal, and/or obstetric medical, nursing and service providers
    • 2-4 labor and delivery nursing management
    • 2-4 substance use/addiction recovery medical and service providers
    • 2-4 psychiatric medical and service providers
    • 4+ Representatives from community-based organizations that serve people who are pregnant or were recently pregnant
    • 2 Perinatal social workers
    • 3+ State Agency Representatives, including the Health Care Authority, and Child Protective Services and Early Learning at the Department of Children, Youth and Families
    • 2-3 consumers or representatives from populations most affected by poor maternal outcomes (Women who experienced pregnancy and/or childbirth and who are African American, American Indian, Alaska Native, Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and/or who have Medicaid or are from a low income background, and/or who have struggled with mental or behavioral health issues
    • 1+ neonatology or pediatric provider
    • 2-3 pathologists and/or coroners/medical examiners
    • 2-5 non-perinatal specialists, including emergency medicine, nursing and services, anesthesiology, cardiology
    • 5+ representatives from women’s health, perinatal, obstetric, medical, and psychiatric professional organization representatives

Up to two current Panel members, Department staff and maternal and child health leadership will review applications received through October 15, 2019. Selected nominees will receive an appointment letter signed by the Secretary of Health by January 31, 2020.