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Marian MacDorman passes on

The leadership and staff of our Center are deeply moved by the passing of an important researcher and friend

Dr. Marian MacDorman, a renowned researcher in the field of maternal and child health, passed away on March 26, 2022 at the age of 63. She was a Research Professor at the Maryland Population Research Center (MPRC), University of Maryland. Prior to her appointment with MPRC, she served as a Senior Social Scientist at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for over 25 years. Her research at NCHS identified and explored persistent racial and ethnic disparities and international variations in infant mortality. From 2013-2019, she served as Editor of Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care.

Dr. MacDorman’s robust research program of over 100 publications has contributed significantly to our understanding of maternal and infant mortality, birth settings, and the effect of medical interventions on the birthing process. In 2006, her research on low-risk Cesarean delivery and infant mortality was recognized by Discover Magazine as an outstanding study in science. Her recent research, starting in 2016, involved a series of articles on trends and disparities in maternal deaths that provided an evidentiary basis that helped ignite the current national effort to reduce maternal mortality.

Recognized as a leading scientist in the field, Dr. MacDorman recently served on the National Academy of Sciences expert panel on Assessment of Birth Settings and has received numerous awards for her innovations and applications to the field, including the National Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Award for Effective Practice and NCHS’ Elijah White Outstanding Scientist Award. She was tireless in her efforts to develop an evidentiary base for advocacy to ensure the wellbeing of mothers, birthing people, and their infants. She was also an extraordinary mentor to many, helping to ensure high quality research capability in the years ahead, and her impact will remain for generations to come.

The journal Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care has created The Marian MacDorman Award for Research Excellence to honor her contributions to the field. This fellowship / prize will be awarded annually to the first author of a manuscript accepted for publication in Birth that uses population data to advance access to high quality perinatal care across settings and populations that are historically under-represented in research.

Thanks to Marian's family for providing this obituary.