Merck, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today the creation of the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity, a grant award that will be bestowed annually to one organization in recognition of its commitment to and progress toward more equitable, high-quality maternal health care. The award will be granted by Merck for Mothers, Merck’s global initiative to help create a world where no woman has to die while giving life.

The Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity is named in recognition of the legacy and commitment to maternal health by Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. Merck for Mothers flourished under his leadership following its creation nearly a decade ago and serves as only one of many examples of the company’s efforts to address systemic barriers to access to health during his tenure. This newest recognition will advance the ongoing efforts of Merck for Mothers to help advance birth equity and improve the health of mothers in underserved communities around the globe.

“Ken Frazier affirmed our company’s commitment to strengthening health system quality and accelerating access to high-quality care for all,” said Dr. Julie L. Gerberding, chief patient officer at Merck. “This award reflects the ongoing work of Merck for Mothers and our company’s legacy of achieving significant strides in the long-term quest for health equity.”

Aligning with Merck for Mothers’ commitment to centering women and those most impacted in health solutions, the award will be granted to an organization that has made a demonstrated and distinctive impact in advancing maternal health equity and whose leadership reflects and/or is representative of the marginalized group being served. The deadline for nominations is July 30, 2021. Upon review by an expert committee, one organization will be selected to receive a grant in 2021 of up to $250,000. More information about the award, the nomination process and eligibility and funding guidelines may be found here.

“Merck for Mothers is an exemplar of our company’s commitment to using our scientific and business expertise, and partnering with the public and private sectors, to improve maternal health in communities around the world,” said Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and chief executive officer, Merck. “I’m honored to have played a part in this life-altering initiative that has already helped more than 13 million women have healthier pregnancies and safer birth outcomes.”

This new award builds on 100+ strategic social investments by Merck for Mothers since its inception, many of which are tailored to addressing health equity head-on through the advancement of innovative approaches to tackle racial inequities in maternal health outcomes. Most recently, Merck for Mothers announced a second round of Safer Childbirth Cities grants to make U.S. cities safer and more equitable places to give birth and a fifth round of projects through its Global Grants program aimed at advancing maternal health equity globally.

“Setting up women to thrive over a lifetime and reversing the concerning maternal mortality trends we see globally requires confronting inequalities in access to quality care,” said Dr. Mary-Ann Etiebet, lead, Merck for Mothers. “Through the organizations and leadership we will recognize through the Kenneth C. Frazier Award for Maternal Health Equity, we hope to highlight the work of organizations that are championing equitable maternal health outcomes and birth justice.”

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