November 2009

From the President

Prematurity and Preconception Health

By Phyllis Sloyer, President, AMCHP 

Our prematurity rate is still a double digit number and if you drill down into the causes of prematurity you will find multiple reasons, not the least of which include poor nutrition, substance use, poverty, as well as more clinical issues including the increasing number of c-sections. A friend of mine who is a developmental pediatrician from Canada once said that we have to pay more attention to preparing women for a healthy and safe pregnancy long before they are pregnant. He said this to me about 20 years ago when we were tackling issues of early intervention in the early childhood period. Isn’t it ironic that we now are placing a strong emphasis on preconception health as a means to reducing prematurity?  [read more]  

From the CEO

Prematurity: Taking a Public Health Approach

By Mike R. Fraser, PhD

Several months ago I had the chance to visit our good partners at the March of Dimes at their national headquarters in White Plains, New York. In their offices is a fascinating display on the March of Dimes’ successful history fighting polio and their current campaign to prevent premature birth. At the center of the display is an “Iron Lung” – a reminder of what many patients had to go through to stay alive in their own battles against polio. And next to it, though much smaller, is an “Isolette” machine – an incubator – something many of us are much more used to seeing these days in our hospitals than an iron lung. [read more


March of Dimes Big 5 State Prematurity Collaborative 

By Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP
Senior Vice President, Chapter Programs
March of Dimes National Office
White Plains, NY 

Together, five states (California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas) account for nearly 40 percent of all births and 36.8 percent of preterm births in the United States. Known as the “Big 5”, these states not only share high birth rates, they also face many of the same challenges in implementing programs to improve birth outcomes. Given these similarities, what are the unique opportunities the Big 5 can leverage to significantly impact birth outcomes? In 2006, the March of Dimes began asking how the Big 5 states could identify opportunities and leverage initiatives to impact birth outcomes. This led to a collaboration among the Big 5 states that continues to evolve today. [read more]

Spotlight on Assisted Reproductive Technology 

By Maurizio Macaluso, MD, DrPH
Chief, Women's Health and Fertility Branch
Division of Reproductive Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) has been used in the United States since 1981 to help women become pregnant, most commonly through in vitro fertilization (IVF) of human eggs followed by transfer of the embryos into the woman’s uterus. In 1992, Congress passed the Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act, requiring Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect data from all ART clinics and report success rates, defined as live births per ovarian stimulation procedures, for each ART clinic. In a typical ART procedure, eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovary, combined with sperm in the laboratory, and the resulting embryo(s) are transferred back into the woman’s uterus or fallopian tubes. [read more]

Early Intervention and Babies Born Prematurely

By Diana Autin
Executive Co-Director
Statewide Parent Advocacy Network of New Jersey

Babies who are born prematurely are more likely to have disabilities and developmental delays, including cerebral palsy, visual and hearing impairments, respiratory problems and cognitive disabilities. In New Jersey, babies who are born prematurely and/or who are born with disabilities or developmental delays are automatically registered with the electronic Birth Registry. The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services’ Special Child Health Services Registry is a confidential record of infants and children who have birth defects and special health care needs or who are at risk of developing such needs. Infants and children with a birth defect diagnosed through five years of age must be reported to the Registry. [read more]

Member to Member

Member states were asked the following question:

What are you doing related to health promotion and prevention across the lifespan?   [read more]

Real Life Stories

Youth Involvement in AMCHP’s Preconception Health and Adolescents Action Learning Collaborative: An Interview with Hillary Merick

Missouri was selected as one of six state teams to participate in AMCHP’s Preconception Health and Adolescents Action Learning Collaborative. While the team is in the early planning stages, they have proposed to work with schools to incorporate preconception health strategies and messages into educational materials. Their target audience is youth ages 14 to 19. The team — comprised of state health and education agency staff and community stakeholders — invited Hillary Merick, a high school student from Zalma, Missouri, to participate on the team as a key stakeholder. The following is a brief interview with Ms. Merick. [read more


Success Stories

Even before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the Recommendations to Improve Preconception Health and Health Care in April of 2006, many state Title V programs were already implementing approaches designed to improve both women’s health and pregnancy outcomes. Since then, most state Title V programs are looking at ways to incorporate preconception health into their programmatic activities. The following are some state success stories taken from the Title V Information System. [read more]

View from Washington

Health Reform Jumps Huge Hurtle in the House

By Brent Ewig, MHS
Director of Public Policy & Government Affairs, AMCHP

Late in the evening of Saturday November 7, the U.S. House of Representatives narrowly passed H.R. 3962, the "Affordable Health Care for America Act.” Detailed summaries are available from Congress
here and from the non-partisan Kaiser Family Foundation here. And while these resources are comprehensive, I’m sure you are asking what specifically is in this bill for maternal and child health? 
[read more

Who's New

AMCHP Welcomes New Senior Program Manager for CYSHCN Treeby Brown 

Treeby Brown is AMCHP’s new Senior Program Manager for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN). She will be primarily serving as the Project Manager for the autism and birth defects cooperative agreements. [read more]

Get Involved

AMCHP Board Nominations Extended!
The AMCHP Board has extended nominations for all open Board positions through November 30 to encourage more members to nominate themselves or their AMCHP peers to serve on the Board. For more information, visit here.

Register Now for AMCHP's Annual Conference!
Register today online to attend AMCHP’s Annual Conference to convene on March 6-10, 2010, in Washington, DC. If you have any questions, please contact Registration Manager Lynn Parrazzo,, or call AMCHP’s Conference Department at (703) 964-1240. 

Save the Date – Text4Baby Webinar
AMCHP will sponsor a webinar for Title V programs on Thursday, December 3 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. (EDT) to provide an overview of Text4Baby, a free mobile information service designed to promote healthy birth outcomes among underserved populations.  Text4baby is made possible by a public-private partnership that is coordinated by the National Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition (HMHB), Johnson & Johnson, Voxiva, the CTIA Wireless Foundation, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Please join AMCHP to learn about this exciting new program and the pilot implementation in the Virginia Title V program. [read more]

AMCHP Rolls Out Innovation Station
Are you curious about how states are addressing the needs of Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs? Do you want to know more about programs that tackle preconception health or infant mortality? Then visit the Innovation Station, AMCHP’s new searchable database for finding emerging, promising and best practices across the United States. You’ll also find useful links to other best practice databases and resources to help you evaluate your public health programs. Check out Innovation Station to learn more about what’s being done to improve the health of women, children and families! [read more]

Call for Applications
The Maternal and Child Public Health Leadership Training Program is now accepting applications for fall 2010 for the two-year, full-time in-residence Master of Public Health (MPH) degree pathway. This pathway provides training in program management, policy formulation, assessment, evaluation, and research focused maternal and child populations in the United States. In addition to academic training, students also complete a practicum and a thesis project. If you know of someone who has clinical or public health experience with underserved maternal and child populations and would like to assume new professional responsibilities in working with these populations, please forward this email on to them.The program is interdisciplinary: students apply either to the Department of Epidemiology or the Department of Health Services. The deadline for the Department of Epidemiology is December 1; and the deadline for the Department of Health Services is January 15. [read more]

Call for Materials
The National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center is looking for materials that highlight concepts of health literacy and oral health-related materials that integrate those concepts. Share your publications, such as brochures, fact sheets, curricula, policy statements, tool kits, manuals, and protocols, with OHRC for inclusion in their library. To submit materials in hard copy, send it to: Sarah Kolo, National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center, Georgetown University, Box 571272 Washington, DC 20057-1272. Submit electronic materials via e-mail.

Data and Trends

See data on Preterm Birth rates from the March of Dimes Perinatal Data Center. [read more]  


View and download resources on Prematurity and Preconception Health. [read more]

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