Elizabeth Kelly, MD, MS, has dedicated her career to caring for underserved populations. As a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Director of the Division of General Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Medical Director of the Women’s Community Health Services at UC Medical Center, Kelly primarily focuses on maternal health issues and their impact on preterm birth and infant mortality.
“I work in the community with a team to address social determinants of health to improve both maternal and infant outcomes, with a focus on understanding issues around equity and inclusion,” said Kelly.
Kelly co-founded Cradle Cincinnati with James Greenberg, MD, co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and a professor of pediatrics at the UC College of Medicine, to improve infant mortality rates in Hamilton County. Initially, Kelly and the Cradle Cincinnati team analyzed data, identified primary infant mortality drivers and developed a strategy to address the issues. In her current role, Kelly oversees the women’s health components of their work because most infant mortality is driven by preterm birth, which is a maternal health issue.
“I'm leading the work that looks at systems-based changes, including developing policies that can be enacted and looking at how systems within our healthcare network and the community can join together to create an overall environment in Hamilton County that will eliminate infant mortality,” said Kelly.
In addition to her policy work with Cradle Cincinnati, Kelly also serves on the Hamilton County Board of Health.
“Being part of the Board of Health gives me an opportunity to serve as an advisor and a consultant in an arena that effects the citizens of our county under the leadership of Commissioner Ingram,” said Kelly. “The role allows me to continue enhancing my knowledge and background in public health as a whole. And the different aspects of public health that we work on affect the health of the community and the health of women, so it all comes together.”
Kelly works directly in the neighborhoods most affected by adverse health outcomes for women and infants, and she’s built strong relationships in those communities. That knowledge and experience has allowed her to create a foundation from which to teach her students, mentees and co-workers.
“I always teach that every person is a human being, that the community they come from and live in is an important part of their overall health, and that partnering with people in the community outside of our medical center is imperative for the overall health of our population,” said Kelly.
Kelly values her role as an educator and a mentor, as well as her responsibilities as a clinician and policy advocate. The ability to participate in education, clinical work, research and policy development was one of the reasons she chose the UC College of Medicine almost 25 years ago. And in the end, all of Kelly’s efforts contribute to the same goal: “To provide evidence-based outcomes using quality improvement science to ensure that anyone that receives care at our institution receives the best possible care.”