Sepsis Alliance Symposium: Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis

Sepsis Alliance Symposium: Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis

4.96 (69 votes)


Date: May 16, 2024

Time: 12:00 - 4:00 pm ET / 9:00 am - 1:00 pm PT

Sepsis, an indiscriminate threat that can strike anyone regardless of their health status or age, tends to disproportionately affect certain populations. Pregnant individuals and newborns are among those at higher risk of sepsis-related complications. Sepsis accounts for at least 261,000 maternal deaths each year worldwide, accounting for approximately 11% of all maternal deaths. Across the U.S. between 2017-2019, 14.3% of pregnancy-related deaths were due to infection or sepsis. Maternal sepsis ranks as the second leading cause of maternal fatalities, and globally sepsis is the number one cause of mortality in newborns and young infants.

Maternal sepsis typically occurs when an infection takes hold in the aftermath of childbirth, whether it be at the site of a C-section incision, a tear, or another postpartum wound, occurring in the days or weeks following delivery. Any infection, such as Strep B, pneumonia, or a urinary tract infection, occurring during pregnancy or in the postpartum period, can also potentially escalate into sepsis. Infections can be passed from the birthing parent to child during pregnancy, labor, and delivery, putting the infant also at risk for developing sepsis.

It is imperative that healthcare professionals understand the unique risks that maternal and neonatal patients have regarding sepsis to efficiently and accurately assess and diagnose sepsis.

To address this issue, Sepsis Alliance is hosting the 2024 Sepsis Alliance Symposium: Maternal and Neonatal Sepsis. This live, virtual event, scheduled for May 16, 2024, will cover critical topics related to sepsis in maternal and neonatal patients, offering attendees the most up-to-date clinical knowledge and treatment recommendations for these populations. The key outcome of this half-day event is to establish the burden of sepsis in maternal and neonatal patients and improve clinical outcomes for patients affected by sepsis.

Covered topics will include:

  • Perinatal outcomes in patients with sepsis during pregnancy;
  • Improving maternal equity, health outcomes related to infections and sepsis, and antimicrobial stewardship through health policy;
  • Clinical diagnosis and management of neonatal sepsis;
  • Discharge and transitions of care for birthing parents and newborns.

Learning Objectives: 

At the end of the activity, the learner should be able to:

  • Identify the unique risks and burden of sepsis in pregnancy and newborns;
  • Summarize the steps to recognizing sepsis in maternal patients and newborns;
  • Restate how health policies can be used to improve maternal equity and patient outcomes;
  • Summarize the relationship between healthy equity and maternal and neonatal outcomes and sepsis.

Target Audience: 

Nurses, advanced practice providers, physicians, emergency responders, pharmacists, medical technologists, respiratory therapists, physical/occupational therapists, infection prevention specialists, data/quality specialists, and more.

Symposium Supporter:

Sepsis Alliance gratefully acknowledges the support provided for this symposium by Baxter and Ohio Hospital Association.



Beth Battaglino, RN-C



Beth Battaglino, RN-C, is the chief executive officer of HealthyWomen. Beth brings a unique combination of sharp business expertise and women’s health insight to her leadership of the organization. She has worked in the healthcare industry for more than 25 years,

helping to define and drive public education programs on a broad range of women’s health issues.

Beth launched and has expanded the HealthyWomen brand. As a result of her leadership, HealthyWomen was recognized as one of the top 100 women’s health websites by Oprah magazine and by Forbes for three consecutive years. HealthyWomen now connects to millions of women across the country through its wide program distribution and innovative use of technology.

She is also a practicing nurse in maternal child health at Riverview Medical Center-Hackensack Meridian Health in Red Bank, NJ. In addition to her nursing degree, Beth holds degrees in political science, business, and public administration from Marymount University.

Stephanie Gaw, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences

University of California San Francisco

Stephanie Gaw, MD, PhD is an Associate Professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences at University of California, San Francisco. She completed her medical degree and PhD in Microbiology and Immunology at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, residency in OB/GYN at UCSF, and fellowship in Maternal Fetal Medicine at UCLA.

Dr. Gaw has a long-standing interest in global infectious disease and maternal-child health starting from her service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras. Her group conducts translational research to understand how perinatal infections impact maternal-fetal immunity, placental function, and pregnancy outcomes.  Her research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, Reproductive Scientist Development Program, Foundation for SMFM, CDC Foundation, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and gifts from generous individuals. She has over 95 peer-reviewed publications and has served on CDC, WHO and NIH advisory groups for Zika, COVID-19, and tuberculosis in pregnancy.

Michael W. Kuzniewicz , MD, MPH

Assistant Professor, Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics

University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco

Michael Kuzniewicz, MD, MPH, is the Director of the Perinatal Research Unit at the Division of Research for Kaiser Permanente Northern California and a clinical neonatologist. Dr. Kuzniewicz’s research has focused on improving clinical care through epidemiologic studies and predictive modelling utilizing the electronic data resources of Kaiser Permanente Northern California. His primary areas of interest include management of hyperbilirubinemia, early-onset neonatal sepsis/antibiotic stewardship, and hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy.   

Elliott Main, MD

Founding Medical Director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, Clinical Professor, Department of Ob/Gyn

Stanford University School of Medicine

Elliott Main, MD, trained in obstetrics and gynecology and Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Pennsylvania.  He has been a faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, San Francisco. He is currently Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University.

From its inception 12 years ago, he has directed the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative based at Stanford and serves as the Chair of the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review Committee. He also co-chairs the CDC-ACOG Maternal Mortality working group with Dr. William Callaghan.  He has served or chaired national committees on Maternal Quality Measurement and Value Based Payment for ACOG, the AMA, The Joint Commission, Leap Frog, and CMS.

Nationally, he serves as the Implementation Director for the Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health (or AIM) initiative, the national multi-disciplinary project for reducing maternal mortality based at ACOG.  In 2013, Dr. Main received the ACOG Distinguished Service Award for his work in quality improvement.

Paulomi (Mimi) Niles, CNM, MPH, PhD

Assistant Professor and Certified Nurse-midwife

New York University

Mimi (Paulomi) Niles, PhD, MPH, CNM, is Assistant Professor at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing. She is a theorist, educator, researcher, and certified nurse-midwife. Her work explores the potential of integrated models of midwifery care in creating health equity in historically disenfranchised communities. She is trained in utilizing critical feminist theory, as theorized by Black and brown feminist scholars, and qualitative research methods to implement policy and programming rooted in critical feminist and anti-oppression frameworks. As a researcher, she hopes to generate midwifery knowledge as a tool to build equity and liberation for marginalized and minoritized people and grow the profession of midwifery. For the last decade, Professor Niles has been a practicing midwife, serving childbearing women and families, within the largest public health network in the nation. She continues to provide clinical care as a full-scope midwife working in a collaborative midwife-physician practice setting, within the largest municipal hospital system in the nation, NYC Health + Hospitals. 

Professor Niles is an active member of the midwifery community locally, nationally, and globally. She was recently appointed to serve as a member of the Americas Regional Committee of the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) as a research expert.  Locally, she serves on the New York City Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee and is an active member of the Brooklyn Borough President Maternal Health Taskforce Midwifery Committee. She grew up as a first-generation immigrant in Queens, NY, mothers two young adults, and honors her mother’s legacy as a nurse-midwife in India.

Kaitlin Walden

Mother of Shayla, Pediatric Sepsis Survivor

Sepsis Alliance Connect

Kaitlin Walden is a mother and caregiver to her daughter Shayla, a newborn sepsis survivor. She is a mother of three, military spouse, and a healthcare professional for over 13 years. When Kaitlin isn’t caregiving, she spends time advocating for sepsis awareness, teaching CPR classes, baking, painting, and making memories with her family.

Amanda Williams, MD, MPH, FACOG

Clinical Innovations Advisor, CMQCC; Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor

Stanford University School of Medicine

Amanda P. Williams, MD, MPH, FACOG, is the Clinical Innovation Advisor with the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC) based at Stanford University School of Medicine, where she also is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Williams previously served as Medical Director at Mahmee, a tech-enabled maternal health company dedicated to improving health equity and empowering families with wraparound care during the pregnancy and postpartum period. In this role, she oversaw the company’s programming, while fostering institutional partnerships, developing new business opportunities and opportunities and supporting investor outreach.

Prior to joining Mahmee, Dr. Williams was a practicing OBGYN at Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center where she served as Director of Maternity Services. Additionally, she oversaw the maternity continuum across Kaiser’s 15 medical centers in Northern California. She has also served on several state and national committees, such as the California Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review, the California Surgeon General’s perinatal redesign stakeholder group, and the National Quality Forum Maternal Morbidity and Mortality work group.

Dr. Williams is a Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard University where she majored in American Medical History and Biochemistry. She completed her medical degree at Emory University School of Medicine where she also received a master’s degree in public health, focusing on health policy and management. She completed her graduate medical training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Williams is a prominent voice on maternal health and health equity. Her expertise has been showcased at prestigious institutions like Rush, Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, and Howard Universities. A sought-after speaker, she has been featured at The Future of Maternal Care Summit, The Fortune 500 Most Powerful Women Next Generation Conference, The Doula Expo, and Mino Fest. Dr. Williams has been interviewed on national television outlets such as PBS, BET, CNN, and MSNBC and in print media such as The New York Times and The Washington Post.

James L. Wynn, MD

Professor of Pediatrics

University of Florida

James L. Wynn, MD, is a Professor of Pediatrics and Pathology, Immunology, and Experimental Medicine. He earned his medical degree and completed his clinical training in Pediatrics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine at the University of Florida (2002-2008). Dr. Wynn has published over 100 peer-reviewed manuscripts, reviews, book chapters, and editorials on the investigation of sepsis in newborn and premature infants. 

Provider approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP17068 for 3.6 contact hours.

Other healthcare professionals will receive a certificate of attendance for 3.0 contact hours.

Medical Disclaimer

The information on or available through this site is intended for educational purposes only. Sepsis Alliance does not represent or guarantee that information on or available through this site is applicable to any specific patient’s care or treatment. The educational content on or available through this site does not constitute medical advice from a physician and is not to be used as a substitute for treatment or advice from a practicing physician or other healthcare professional. Sepsis Alliance recommends users consult their physician or healthcare professional regarding any questions about whether the information on or available through this site might apply to their individual treatment or care.


Time (ET)Session TitlePresenter
12:00-12:30Opening Remarks & Patient Story: A Mother’s Perspective: Survival and Advocacy After Newborn SepsisBeth Battaglino, RN-C
CEO, HealthyWomen
Kaitlin Walden
Shayla's Mom & Sepsis Advocate
12:30-1:00Navigating Neonatal Sepsis: Epidemiology, Pathophysiology, and ManagementJames L Wynn, MD
Professor of Pediatrics
University of Florida
1:00-1:30Perinatal Outcomes After Maternal SepsisStephanie Gaw, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, University of California San Francisco
1:45-2:25Maternal Sepsis Collaborative: California and MichiganElliott Main, MD
Founding Medical Director of the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative, Clinical Professor, Department of Ob/Gyn, Stanford University School of Medicine
2:25-2:55Operationalizing Perinatal EquityAmanda Williams, MD, MPH, FACOG
Clinical Innovations Advisor, CMQCC; Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
2:55-3:25Development and Implementation of Kaiser Permanente Neonatal Early-Onset Sepsis Calculator
Michael W. Kuzniewicz , MD, MPH
Assistant Professor, Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco
3:25-3:55Midwives: Providing Equitable, Inclusive Care to Prevent Perinatal Infections and SepsisPaulomi (Mimi) Niles, CNM, MPH, PhD
Assistant Professor and Certified Nurse-midwife, New York University
3:55-4:00Closing Remarks and Key Takeaways
Components visible upon registration.