Iowa Maternal Health Community Advisory Board


The purpose the Iowa Maternal Health Community Advisory Board (CAB) is to bring together a diverse group of individuals who have experienced birth or reproductive care in Iowa to advise on projects to improve care of birthing people in Iowa.  We are particularly interested in the experiences of rural residents, racial/ethnic minorities, those with high risk or complicated pregnancies, preterm birth, and anyone who is motivated to help us improve the quality, safety, and culture of care in Iowa.

Mission Statement

To integrate the experiences of patients, providers, stakeholders, and researchers in a deeper understanding of the reproductive experience of Iowans through community-engaged research, guidance for public health and healthcare quality improvement activities, and shared advocacy for women and birthing people of the state of Iowa.


The Iowa Maternal Health Community Advisory Board values integrity, accountability, and passion about the improvement of perinatal health outcomes in the community. Members should feel that meetings are a safe place in which their contributions, opinions, and experiences will be valued and respected. These values will ensure the ability of board members to effectively collaborate.

To ensure each member of the board feels respected and heard, the following constitute our mutually agreed upon community standards:

  • Address each individual by their preferred name and pronouns
  • One person speaks at a time, allow a pause between speakers to ensure all have a chance to join the conversation
  • No one knows everything, together we know a lot. We believe that each member comes to the conversation with lived experience and embodied expertise and we can all learn from each other.
  • “Move up, move up” – those who tend to speak up frequently, move up to a listening role; those who tend not to speak up, move up to a speaking role.
  • Embrace curiosity
  • Acknowledge the difference between intention and impact
  • We each speak for our own experience and not that of others
  • Challenge ideas, not people

Membership Requirements and Expectations

Members of the board must reside in the state of Iowa and have an interest in perinatal maternal health from the perspective of a patient. Applicants may apply through the online application and will be reviewed by members of the Advisory Board. Existing members will determine which applicants to select to join the board. Participation in monthly and/or working group meetings is a requirement of serving on the board. The ability to maintain the confidentiality of personal information shared during meetings is essential to membership.

Participant attrition will be reviewed individually depending on the member’s circumstances and communication with the board. The Advisory Board will ultimately make the decision as to whether the member will be allowed to remain on the board.

Organization of Board

The Community Advisory Board will meet occasionally as a large group, but primarily act via working groups focused on specific topics related to perinatal maternal health projects. Members will receive a description of the working groups including an estimated time commitment required and can elect to join any of the focus groups or none.  Working groups may elect a CAB co-chair to partner with the project lead when appropriate. Working groups will provide regular progress reports to the full board.

Stephanie Adamson

Board Co-Chair

I love getting to unite with all of our amazing board members to discuss anything and everything having to do with maternal health in Iowa. A large focus has been on improving maternal health services in rural areas of the state, and that is a huge passion of mine. Ensuring that women in rural areas of the state receive high quality care based on evidence based practice, decreasing rural healthcare disparities, and advocating for some of our state’s most vulnerable populations is extremely important to me.

Nicole O’Dell

Board Co-Chair

My favorite aspect of being a CAB member is the collaboration and opportunities it provides. It is offering a dialogue and bringing other mothers across the state to discuss all things maternal health. I think the fact that we have real providers and researchers at the table hearing, listening, taking our feedback, looking at our discussions as opportunities, is imperative and validates how important this is to them and us as moms. The opportunities it provides for mothers to share their stories, or be a part of ongoing learning, advocacy is huge. I didn’t know this type of group existed until I joined.

Decision Making Requirements

Decisions will be made using a hybrid model of group consensus and majority rules. Prior to each decision, the board will always begin with a discussion about the topic and will vote on issues that need consensus.

Rules and Guidelines for Operations

Each meeting will occur virtually and be scheduled in advance via Zoom. Childcare will be reimbursed if expenses are incurred.  Communication for the Community Advisory Board will be through email with the project leads and research assistants. Individuals from the leadership team will be present at the meetings to offer guidance and support. The board must be primarily composed of patients and can include up to 20 active members.