Giving Compass' Take:

• Elizabeth Chuck reports that some hospitals are turning to implicit bias training to combat the disturbingly high maternal mortality rate of black women. There is not yet strong evidence that trainings can improve care for black women. 

• How can philanthropy help to develop evidence-based improvements for black women's healthcare? 

• Learn more about maternal mortality in the United States.

Each year in the United States, about 700 women die as a result of pregnancy or delivery issues — while 50,000 experience severe complications, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to die from pregnancy-related causes nationwide; in New York City, they are 12 times more likely to die. Postpartum hemorrhaging, or heavy blood loss, is one of the leading preventable causes.

There are some concrete contributors identified by researchers: Certain health conditions that affect pregnancy outcomes are more prevalent in black women, such as obesity and hypertension. And black women are more likely to lack access to preventative care, highly rated hospitals, and safe housing during pregnancy.

But the problem is not limited to class: Having higher income and more education offers no protection for black women. That has led some to theorize that the disparity is at least partly caused by institutional racism in our society and healthcare system, conscious or unconscious. Over time, research shows, the stress of that racism has a physical effect on black women that shows up on a cellular level.

In the past several years, implicit bias training has gained popularity in a variety of industries as a way of confronting prejudices.

But implicit bias training is not without controversy. While the Implicit Association Test is the most widely used way of measuring ingrained prejudice, critics say its methodology — testing how quickly a user associates certain words with certain groups — may not be reliable.

Read the full article about maternal mortality rates of black women by Elizabeth Chuck at NBC News.