The Marian MacDorman Award for Research Excellence

This fellowship/prize will be awarded annually to recognize scholarship that uses population data to advance access to high quality perinatal care across settings and populations that are historically under-represented in research.

Dr. MacDorman is Research Professor at the Maryland Population Research Center.  Prior to 2015, she served as  Senior Social Scientist at the Division of Vital Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics(NCHS) for two decades. She also served as the Editor of Birth: Issues in Perinatal Care from 2013-2019.


In her role as Senior Scientist at the CDC, Dr. MacDorman applied vital statistics data to examine infant mortality, cesarean birth and place of birth in NCHS reports. At the same time, she published research articles on associations between birth interventions and outcomes, including a study on infant mortality associated with low risk cesareans that was chosen as one of the outstanding science studies by Discover Magazine in 2006. She has also published an array of studies on birth settings, types of providers, and stratified risks and access to optimal outcomes across populations. 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 of maternal health, she recently served on the National Academies of Sciences expert panel on the Assessment of Birth Settings, and was awarded a grant by the National Institutes of Health supporting an  analyses on the recording of maternal mortality.  Her work is renowned for rigor in analysis, reporting, presentation of epidemiologic data, and her adherence to truth telling in service of improved health outcomes for all.

The award will be granted to the first author of a manuscript accepted for publication in Birth that uses population data to explicate health disparities and/or to identify health services that contribute to health equity.

In addition recipients’ will exhibit two or more of the following qualifications:

  • Early career scholar and/or first accepted manuscript
  • Manuscript that received strong endorsement by peer reviewers/editorial board
  • Utilize vital statistics data in the analysis
  • Application of innovative and rigorous quantitative analytic techniques
  • Transdisciplinary co-authorship
  • Scholar with identity that has been under-represented in Birth authorship
  • Research examining data on the relationship between birth settings, obstetrical interventions and providers on maternal and infant health outcomes
  • Reports on research examining data on pregnancy and childbirth outcomes for populations historically under-represented in the literature