IMI Identifies Community Priorities in Women, Gender, & Maternal Health

A new Institute for Medicaid Innovation (IMI) survey identifies the priorities of community members and individuals with lived experience with the Medicaid program in the field of women, gender, and maternal health.  These priorities differ from those identified among national health plans and policy leaders.

A Survey in Partnership with the Aspen Institute

In February 2023, IMI fielded an online survey and hosted a focus group to ascertain priority topics to help inform the planning process for an upcoming Medicaid policy summit on women and gender health hosted by IMI and the Aspen Institute

The survey utilized convenience sampling to four primary stakeholders: federal policymakers, state policymakers, Medicaid health plans, and national, state, and local leaders in women, gender, and maternal health who have an existing relationship with IMI as volunteers, partners, collaborators, consultants, key informants, and subject matter experts.  Additionally, IMI sent an email to subject matter experts with an existing relationship to IMI and lived experience with the Medicaid program (i.e., individuals enrolled in Medicaid and/or community-based workers), asking them to list the top health topics impacting their family, friends, and community.  A 90-minute focus group was conducted in March 2023 with the individuals with lived experience to review and discuss the findings. 

Discrepancies in Views by Local, National Leaders and Those with Lived Experience

The process of identifying priority topics in women, gender, and maternal health revealed strong consensus among the key Medicaid stakeholder groups, including state policymakers, health plans, and national experts.  Maternal mental health, sexual and reproductive health, and doulas and perinatal community health workers were the top three topics.  Federal policymakers gravitated toward other topics, although they were aligned with other stakeholders in selecting maternal mental health as the top priority. 

In contrast, individuals with lived experience with the Medicaid program presented a more holistic view of priorities by not focusing exclusively on health but rather expanding into other topics such as violence, housing, and criminal justice system.  They also noted justice, not equity, as the driving factor for change.  These findings will be used to inform the upcoming Medicaid policy summit led by IMI in partnership with the Aspen Institute. 

Read the full issue brief here.