The Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS) is the first large-scale data collection effort on the health of U.S. women and their families in the year after birth.
By the Numbers
- 1 in 3Pregnancy-related deaths occur one week to one year after birth
- 3 in 5Pregnancy-related deaths could be prevented
- 87 to 94%Of women report a health problem in the first three months postpartum
The goal of the survey is to give voice to the experiences of women and families after birth. The findings will help to better identify and address the causes of postpartum maternal morbidity and mortality.
Please note that this webpage provides information on the survey and does not contain the PAWS survey itself. The survey is being distributed to select recipients throughout 2021. If you are a selected participant, please reference the instructions on the letter or email you received to complete the survey.
The purpose of the Postpartum Assessment of Women Survey (PAWS) is to better understand how to improve the health and quality of life of women and their families in the year after a child is born. The survey will ask a representative sample of women who recently gave birth from six states and New York City about their physical and mental health, health care use and the social determinants of health. Data from this effort will provide insights on actionable strategies that could be taken by state health departments, governments, clinicians and other relevant actors to promote the health of families and mitigate maternal morbidity and mortality in the year after birth.
PAWS is an interdisciplinary research collaboration between Columbia University researchers and seven city and state departments of health. The survey is part of a larger Columbia World Project, “Leveraging Policy to Improve Maternal Health in the Fourth Trimester.” Columbia World Projects is a Columbia University initiative that mobilizes the university’s researchers and scholars to work with governments, organizations, businesses and communities to tackle global challenges and improve people’s lives.
Heidi L. Allen, MSW, PhDColumbia UniversityProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Heidi L. Allen, MSW, PhD is an Associate Professor at Columbia University’s School of Social Work, and is a nationally recognized expert on Medicaid policy.
Jamie Daw, PhDColumbia UniversityProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Jamie Daw, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She is a quantitative health services researcher whose...
Kristen Underhill, JD, DPhilCornell UniversityProject LeadRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Kristen Underhill, JD, DPhil is an Associate Professor of Law at Cornell Law School. Her expertise is in both law and public health, including legal research, survey methods, and qualitative data collection.
Zohn Rosen, PhD.Project CoordinatorRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Zohn Rosen, Ph.D. is a Lecturer in Health Policy and Management at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Dr. Rosen is an experimental psychologist, and is currently...
Erica Eliason, MPHRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Erica Eliason, MPH is a Social Policy Analysis and Economics PhD candidate at Columbia University School of Social Work. She served as a Research Assistant for the PAWS team in the summers of 2019 and 2020.
Emma Kaishian, BARead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Emma Kaishian is a Master of Public Health Candidate in Health Policy and Management at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She served as the Project Coordinator for...
Amanda Spishak-Thomas, LCSW, MSWRead Full Bio arrow_right_alt
Amanda (“Mandi”) Spishak-Thomas, LCSW, MSW is a Social Policy Analysis and Economics PhD student, focusing on health policy under the guidance of Dr. Heidi Allen.
PAWS is being conducted in collaboration with seven city and state departments of heath.
- Kansas Department of Health & Environment
- Michigan Department of Health and Human Services
- New Jersey Department of Health
- New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
- Pennsylvania Department of Health
- Utah Department of Health
- Virginia Department of Health
In addition to government partners, PAWS has benefited from expert input from the following individuals:
Lindsay Admon, MD, MSc
Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Michigan
Brittany Chambers, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine
Katy Kozhimannil, PhD, MPA
Professor, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health; Director, Rural Health Research Center
Dara Mendez, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, University of Pittsburg Graduate School of Public Health
Alison Stuebe, MD
Professor, Department of Maternal and Child Health, University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health; Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UNC School of Medicine
For six study sites, PAWS is being implemented by the Rutgers Bloustein Center for Survey Research (BCSR). BCSR provides high quality, non-partisan, objective research services to government, academia, the private sector and non-profit organizations. The BSCR Maternal and Child Health Unit has more than a decade of experience conducting surveys of women and children including the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS).
The PAWS team is currently seeking support for knowledge translation efforts to maximize the impact of PAWS findings on policy and practice. If you or your organization is interested in supporting the current or future iterations of PAWS, please email [email protected].
The PAWS survey will collect information on several domains critical to the health of women and families in the year after a child is born. To create a rich, longitudinal dataset covering the preconception, pregnancy, and postpartum periods, this information will ultimately be linked to data from state and city birth certificate files and the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS). PAWS topics will include:
- Health Insurance
- Health Care Access and Use
- Unmet Health Needs
- Physical Health
- Mental Health
- Financial Security and Employment
- Social Support
- Bias and Discrimination