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 perinatal care and maternal health in our state.

To apply

  • Complete the online application. The application period closes November 16, 2022 at 5:00 p.m.
  • Current Panel members must reapply.
  • Agree to a screening process that includes:
    • An application follow-up call (phone, MS Teams, or Zoom) with the Maternal Mortality Review Coordinator and/or other staff.
    • 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.

Expectations of Members of the Maternal Mortality Review Panel

Membership to the Panel is completely voluntary. Nominees are appointed by the Secretary of Health to serve for a term of three years (2023–2025).

Panel members are required to attend at least 2–3 maternal mortality review meetings per year, attend up to 5 additional online presentations per year, participate in onboarding and health equity trainings, and respond to agency communications in a timely manner. Every three years, the Panel conducts a meeting or meetings to review recommendations from previous years for the maternal mortality report to the legislature.

All meetings are currently conducted virtually. Meeting frequency will increase or decrease depending on the workload of the year in review.

Onboarding and additional training opportunities will be online and are available at no cost.

Panel members volunteer in a variety of capacities, including one or more of the following:

  • Attending maternal mortality review meetings on a rotating basis.
  • Providing consultation as clinical or subject-matter experts.
  • Volunteering as a lead panel member to assist DOH staff with preparing for review meetings.
  • Collaborating with DOH to develop recommendations for policy makers and systems that impact perinatal care.
  • Disseminating findings.
  • 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 3 references for DOH staff to contact and confirm information on application. This information will be kept confidential and is not subject to public disclosure per RCW 70.54.450

All the Panel members serve in a volunteer capacity and do not receive compensation from the Department for their participation in the review process. To address potential financial barriers to participation, reimbursement may be available in the form of stipends and allowances consistent with RCW 43.03.220 for Panel members who are low income or have lived experience to support their participation on the Panel when the Department determines such participation is desirable in order to implement principles of equity consistent with guidance issued by the Washington State Office of Equity. To receive funds, Panel members must contact the MMRP Coordinator in advance of activities for which they are requesting reimbursement.

If appointed to the MMRP, panel members who do not respond to communications or do not participate in a minimum amount of Panel activities, including onboarding and training, will be assumed to no longer want to participate.

Case review meetings and other materials will use gender inclusive language about perinatal and maternal mortality, as cases indicate.

Any Panel member may end their appointment at any time for any reason.

Selection criteria

  • Shows ability and willingness to follow expectations and dedication to perinatal care and improving inequities in perinatal care.
  • Shows understanding of the social and/or clinical issues that impact maternal health outcomes and disparities in maternal mortality—and values both clinical and non-clinical expertise in a shared decision-making environment.
  • Shows commitment to addressing social determinants of health and advancing health equity—including racial equity. 
  • Describes experiences, knowledge, and expertise 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 open spots. Selection will include fulfillment of requirements for percentages of professional types on the Panel:

  • 2+ Tribal representatives
  • 2-4 maternal fetal medicine providers
  • 8-10 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 community members or representatives with lived experience or from populations most affected by poor maternal outcomes. (People 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 perinatal, obstetric, medical, and psychiatric professional organization representatives
  • Other specialties as needed.

Up to two current Panel members, Department staff, and maternal and child health leadership will review applications received. We expect to make decisions in December 2022. New Panel members will receive a letter from the Secretary of Health in December 2022 or January 2023.

If you have any questions, please contact the Maternal Mortality Review Coordinator at maternalmortalityreview@doh.wa.gov