September 2010

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From the President

Infant Mortality: Our Past, Present & Future Albatross

By Phyllis J. Sloyer, RN, PhD, FAHM, FAAP 

Despite research, funding, and practice, we certainly can’t claim U.S. infant mortality rates to be our hallmark of success. While we did dramatically reduce these rates in the 20th century through a series of technological advances, we can’t claim that we have continued progressively reducing our rates. In fact, we know that there are multiple issues impacting the rates, including all of the social and environmental threats we face; threats of poverty, poor nutrition, unsafe neighborhoods, environmental hazards, impediments in our health care delivery system, lack of supportive families and other variables that are the ingredients in a volatile recipe for increased infant mortality. [read more]

From the CEO

Improving Birth Outcomes for All

By Michael R. Fraser, PhD CAE

AMCHP joins the National Healthy Start Association and other local, state, and national partners in marking Infant Mortality Awareness Month. Infant mortality highlights many critical maternal and child health issues and pulls us all together around a single shared goal: preventing infant death and supporting families to assure a healthy start for all children. [read more]


Collaborative Efforts to Address the Impact of Perinatal Regionalization on Infant Mortality

By Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH
Director, Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Charlan D. Kroelinger, PhD
Acting Team Lead and Senior Scientist
Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology Program
Division of Reproductive Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Vanessa A. White, MPH
Associate Director, Women's & Infant Health
Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

AMCHP has been partnering with federal agencies and academic institutions to advance the definition and measurement of perinatal regionalization. The following is an overview of recent activities. [read more]

Partnership to Eliminate Disparities in Infant Mortality

By Jessica Hawkins, MPH, CHES
Program Manager, Women’s and Infant Health, AMCHP

Brenda Thompson, MPH
Prevention Specialist
University of Nebraska Medical Center 

In 2008, CityMatCH, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), and the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) — with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation — created the Partnership to Eliminate Disparities in Infant Mortality. The purpose of the project is to eliminate racial inequities contributing to infant mortality within U.S. urban areas. The first activity of the partnership was an 18-month long Action Learning Collaborative (ALC). The emphasis of this team-based ALC was on innovative approaches to reducing racial inequities in infant mortality in urban communities, with particular attention paid to the impact of racism. [read more]


A Spotlight on Sudden and Unexpected Infant Death and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Prevention Efforts

The impact of SUID and SIDS in Infant mortality continues to be an important public health issue nationally and states are tackling this issue using a variety of strategies, from forging federal-state partnerships to expanding upon the current research in the field to ensuring that there is consistent prevention messaging. In this article, AMCHP highlights some of the great work that is being done to reduce infant mortality, and shares some of the challenges and successes of translating research and data into practice in the field. 

[read more]

Special: Celebrating the 75th Anniversary of Title V

By Dr. James F. Quilty, Jr.
AMCHP Past President (1989-1991)

My tenure as AMCHP presidency and events immediately afterward championed the indomitable bond linking MCHB and its first Director Vince Hutchins with AMCHP. We experienced genuine pride in advancing the health of America's mothers and children during those years. However, historical events at the decade's inception dwarfed our accomplishments as surely as Shakespeare's Hamlet role overwhelmed that of his friend Horatio. [read more]


Member to Member

Member states were asked to answer the following question: 

Congratulations on meeting all five of the Healthy People 2010 goals for breastfeeding. What projects have you been working on at the state level that have contributed to this success? [read more]

Success Stories

Delaware’s Efforts to Reduce the Infant Mortality Rate  

By Walt Mateja
Director, Child Health Programs
Delaware Health and Social Services

For the past five years, the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium (DHMIC) has been working toward implementing 20 recommendations aimed at reducing infant mortality in Delaware. The recommendations were originally issued in 2006 by a governor appointed Infant Mortality Task Force. The DHMIC and its working subcommittees are composed of a consortium of public health professionals including neonatalogists, maternal-fetal medicine specialists, registered nurses, internists, hospital administrators, nonprofit organization directors, federally qualified health care center directors, state legislators, concerned citizens, researchers and staff at the Delaware Division of Public Health. [read more]

Kentucky’s Efforts to Reduce the Infant Mortality Rate

By Ruth Ann Shepherd, MD, FAAP, CPHQ
Director, Division of Maternal and Child Health
Kentucky Department for Public Health 

Tracey D. Jewell, MPH
Division of Maternal and Child Health

Infant mortality is a reflection of the health status of a population as well as an indication of maternal health, quality of care, access to care, socioeconomic conditions and public health interventions. Several of the strategies utilized in Kentucky to address infant mortality include the Health Access Nurturing Development Services (HANDS) program, Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait (HBWW) and the Jefferson County Infant Mortality Project. [read more]

Maajtaag Mnobmaadzid Michigan Inter-tribal Council Healthy Start Project Partners with Michigan Title V to Address American Indian Infant Mortality

By Elizabeth Kushman, MPH
Project Director
Maajtaag Mnobmaadzid Healthy Start
Inter-tribal Council of Michigan

Prior to funding of the Inter-tribal Council of Michigan Healthy Start project in 1997, no state or federally funded maternal and child health (MCH) programs in Michigan had targeted the American Indian population. Data on American Indian birth outcomes were generally lumped into and reported under a racial category called “Other” in state analyses and reports. Indian Health Service Statistics for Michigan Tribes reflected only a small portion of the American Indian population and were not available by county. This lack of data and lack of programmatic focus was all the more compelling given that American Indian infants in Michigan die at two to three times the rate of white infants, and the rate of SIDS and SUID deaths was four to six times higher.  The Inter-tribal Council of Michigan Healthy Start project provided a new opportunity to explore and address these disparities.[read more]

Virginia’s Commissioner’s Working Group on Infant Mortality

By Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP
State Health Commissioner
Virginia Department of Health

State Health Commissioner Karen Remley, MD, MBA, FAAP formed the Commissioner’s Working Group on Infant Mortality in 2008 to address Virginia’s infant mortality rate. The workgroup brings together leaders from the health care industry, community and faith organizations, the business community, insurers, educators and associations such as AARP, March of Dimes and NAACP. The goal of the workgroup is to improve Virginia’s infant mortality rate by engaging key stakeholders to work jointly with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) through the development and implementation of creative/innovative prevention. [read more]

Wisconsin's Efforts to Eliminate Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Birth Outcomes 

By Patrice Mocny Onheiber, MPA
Director, Disparities in Birth Outcomes
Bureau of Community Health Promotion
Division of Public Health
Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wisconsin’s initiative to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in birth outcomes continues to gain momentum. A new legislative special committee on infant mortality begins September 8, 2010. The committee will examine the causes of infant mortality; evaluation of public and private efforts; coordination between public health and Medicaid; successful programs in other states; the public health costs of not addressing the problem; and developing a strategic proposal, including any necessary legislation, addressing in particular disparity rates in different geographic areas of the state. [read more]


View from Washington

Key Provisions of the Affordable Care Act Addressing Infant Mortality

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

Infant mortality is one of the sentinel measures of how well any society is protecting and promoting the health of its women, children and families. Taking a long term view, the United States has made tremendous progress in reducing infant mortality rates. In fact, in 1999 the CDC included "healthier mothers and babies" among the 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century, noting that from 1915 through 1997, the infant mortality rate declined greater than 90 percent and the maternal mortality rate declined almost 99 percent. [read more]

Who's New

On July 7, 2010, President Obama appointed Donald Berwick, MD, MPP, to serve as the Administrator of CMS through a recess appointment. [read more]

On June 22, 2010, Dr. Sherry Glied was confirmed as the new HHS Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). [read more]

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also announced the appointment of Marilyn J. Keefe, MPH, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (DASPA). [read more]

Get Involved

Celebrating Title V at 75 Nationwide
Please join AMCHP and MCHB in a national webinar to celebrate the legacy of the Title V MCH Services Block Grant and share thoughts on its future on September 27 at 3 p.m. EST. The webcast is designed to “virtually” connect MCH leaders across the country at the same time and kick off this fall’s commemoration of Title V in Washington, DC, and other state and local festivities. Plan an event in your agency around this important and informative webinar and join in the national celebration! Click here for activities to engage your state and local MCH leaders and helpful resources on Title V to help plan your own event. [read more

Nominations for AMCHP Board Positions
AMCHP’s Governance Committee is currently accepting nominations for 2011 AMCHP Board positions. These leadership positions guide, direct, inform and contribute to moving AMCHP’s strategic directions and goals forward. Positions that will be open in the 2011 election include: 

  1. President-Elect
  2. Director-At-Large
  3. Family Representative
  4. Region II
  5. Region III
  6. Region V
  7. Region VII 

Volunteer leadership is critical to AMCHP’s success. We hope that you will consider participating in the nominations process. [read more

AMCHP–CityMatCH Health Reform Meeting
Register today! The AMCHP-CityMatCH Summit on MCH and Health Reform is quickly filling up. Attend the one-day event on Thursday, October 21 to learn more about how recently enacted health reform legislation at the national level may impact state and local MCH practice. Registration is required and available online. A block of rooms for Summit attendees, as well as those attending other events in Washington, DC the week of October 18, has been reserved at the Omni Shoreham Hotel. [read more

AMCHP Board Meeting
AMCHP’s Board of Directors will be meeting in person in Washington, DC on Tuesday, October 19. Board meetings are open to the public and we are pleased to welcome visitors. If you plan to attend, please notify Nora Lam, Executive Assistant or call (202) 266-3038. Agenda items include a discussion of health reform and policy implications for state MCH programs, a discussion of AMCHP policy on formal affiliations with other groups, and standard AMCHP business including finance and Board nominations. [read more

AMCHP & Family Voices National Conferences
Join us! Working Together to Improve Maternal and Child Health: The 2011 AMCHP and Family Voices National Conferences will be held in Washington, DC on February 12-15, 2011. Network, learn, and enjoy time with colleagues in our nation’s capital.  Registration information will be posted in early October. Please save the dates. We hope to see you there! [read more

AMCHP Membership Renewal Update
AMCHP is excited to announce the kick off of our membership renewal campaign for the 2011 membership year! Membership renewal packets have now been sent to all state and territorial program members, all organizational members and all individual associate members. If you or your program has not yet received your renewal packet or if any information listed on your invoice needs to be updated, please contact Julio Arguello Jr., Publications & Member Services Manager. Thank you for your support of AMCHP and we look forward to your active participation in the coming year! [read more]

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month
With the theme: A Healthy Baby Begins with Two! Minority Fathers Fight Infant Mortality, the Office of Minority Health is calling on communities across America to get involved. [read more]


Data and Trends

View the Data and Trends for this month's issue on Infant Mortality here.



View and download resources on Infant Mortality here.


Board of Directors

Meet AMCHP's Board of Directors



Meet AMCHP's staff.


Special Events

Celebrating Title V at 75 Nationwide
September 27
Washington, DC

MCHB 75th Anniversary of Title V Commemoration
October 20
Washington, DC 

Looking to the Future: What are the Opportunities and Challenges of Health Reform for Improving Maternal and Child Health?
October 21
Washington, DC  

AMCHP 2011 Annual Conference
February 12-15, 2011
Washington, DC


More MCH Events 

NIH Consensus Development Conference
October 27-29
Bethesda, MD 

15th Annual International Meeting of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine
October 27-30
San Francisco, CA 

Postpartum Support International Annual Conference
October 27-30
Pittsburgh, PA 

2010 AUCD Conference
October 30-November 3
Crystal City, VA 

ASIP/PLIDA International Conference on Perinatal and Infant Death
November 4-7
Alexandria, VA 

APHA 138th Annual Meeting and Exposition
November 6-10
Denver, CO 

25th Zero to Three National Training Institute
December 9-11
Phoenix, AZ 

16th Annual MCH EPI Pre-Conference Data Skill Trainings
December 13-14
San Antonio, TX 

16th Annual CDC MCH EPI Conference
December 15-17
San Antonio, TX