Sabrina Movitz

On a Quest to Do Better, Sabrina Movitz Takes on Equity in Maternal Health

By Denise Schiavone

MITRE health systems analyst Sabrina Movitz exemplifies her generation’s desire to make a difference. Her current order of business? Improving outcomes for mothers in the United States.

As someone in the Gen Z cohort, Sabrina Movitz reads her share of articles about what her age demographic wants in a career. With “doing good in the world” at the top of the list, she counts herself fortunate to be doing work she feels truly makes an impact.

“When I have dinner with my friends and we talk about our jobs, I'm the only person who has so much agency over what they do,” Movitz says. “And I get to work with people who are all mission-driven as well.”

Since joining the company in 2021, she’s directed much of her energy on one of our nation’s most-critical health challenges: the ongoing maternal health crisis—a problem that disproportionally impacts historically marginalized communities. “Black and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) women, regardless of income or education, experience a greater share of these grave outcomes, as do rural women.”

Movitz, who’s “always had a soft spot for maternal health” and an “interest in the intersection between science and society,” wants to change this.

I believe how the U.S. treats its mothers is a bellwether for how we treat everybody, and I know we can do better—we must do better.

Sabrina Movitz, health systems analyst

Her undergraduate studies helped shaped this focus. For her global health minor at Cornell University, she spent a summer shadowing an obstetrician in Lusaka, Zambia. She says the experience sparked a “bit of cognitive dissonance” in the realization that “though they have much fewer resources than America, in some ways they have much better maternal healthcare.”

To improve those outcomes, Movitz has been part of a multidisciplinary research team striving to drive equity in maternal health. Our experts developed decision-support tools like the MITRE Simulation for Telemedicine for OB Research Communities (a.k.a. M-STORC) and the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Interactive Dashboard (a.k.a. 3MID). This data-driven technology can be transitioned for broad potential OB applications.

“Pregnancy is such a pivotal time in people's lives, and I'm surrounded by so many strong mothers, my own included,” she adds. “I believe how the U.S. treats its mothers is a bellwether for how we treat everybody, and I know we can do better—we must do better.”

Putting Equity at the Center of the Conversation

To that end, Movitz has set out to answer another research question: How could doulas—the trained professionals who guide and support mothers during pregnancy, labor, and early postpartum—help address the maternal health crisis?

Drawing on her thesis work at Georgetown University that explored the impact of doula use on maternal mortality, she submitted a proposal to MITRE’s Early Career Research Program. One of 16 applicants selected out 67 submissions, she now leads a project that comprises a multi-state, multi-agency doula workforce assessment. The project aims to develop the first-ever doula reimbursement calculator and to aid healthcare agencies in building a more robust doula workforce. Movitz’s broader goal? To ultimately provide “a doula for everyone who wants one.”

Rachel Mayer Ediger, Movitz’s mentor for the project, says she’s energized by what the early-career professional brings to the problem. “Sabrina's fervor for enhancing the lives of birthing individuals, centered around equity, manifests through her infusion of passion, creativity, and technical expertise into the research. Despite being designated her mentor, I frequently find myself learning more from her than she does from me.”

Movitz also seizes every opportunity to engage the broader maternal health community in the equity conversation. She speaks at conferences and co-authored articles on MITRE’s work, published in The Georgetown Medical Review and Telehealth and Medicine Today.

For The People at the End of Big Systems

While maternal health takes up roughly half of Movitz’s time at our company, the other half she supports another sometimes-underserved demographic: U.S. veterans. She was part of a team that developed an equity action plan for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Movitz, whose father served in the Navy, is excited that the VA implemented several MITRE recommendations that improved veterans’ quality of life—such as establishing telemedicine options in remote areas.

Though still contemplating her “10-year plan,” she says for now, the priority is to continue making a difference for the human beings on the receiving end of these big systems. “If I can do that every day and keep seeing the impact of my work, I’d do that for the rest of my life.”

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