Skip Navigation Links

 November 2011



By Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, FNP

The March of Dimes just released their annual Premature Birth Report Card for 2011. It was wonderful to see that overall the U.S. rate has declined nearly 5 percent from the 2006 peak of 12.8 percent. While this gives us cause for celebration, as maternal child health programs, we need to stay vigilant in continuing to work on reducing these rates. [more]


A Presidential Challenge

By Mike R. Fraser, PhD CAE

Prematurity prevention has gained a great deal of national attention over the past few years thanks to a number of efforts by Title V programs and other partners, including the March of Dimes. Indeed, by the time this issue of Pulse hits your inbox, the March of Dimes will have released the latest set of state-based prematurity report cards that show some progress to celebrate in reducing premature births nationwide, but also a great deal more we can do to address prematurity. [more]


AMCHP Working for You: State Efforts to Promote Preconception Health

By Lauren Raskin Ramos 
Director of Programs, AMCHP

Recognizing that implementing policies and programs to improve preconception health is a key area of focus for state MCH programs, AMCHP is supporting several projects to provide information, tools, technical assistance and resources to help advance these efforts. Similar to many state MCH programs, there is no one preconception health effort at AMCHP, rather we are working broadly to support state efforts. [more]

Interview with Dr. David Lakey, MD, Commissioner of Health, Texas Department of State Health Services on the ASTHO Healthy Babies Presidential Challenge

By Michael R. Fraser, PhD, CAE, Chief Executive Officer, AMCHP

David Lakey, MD, Commissioner, Texas Department of State Health Services

As an association of state-based maternal and child health leaders, AMCHP is an affiliate of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), which represents state health officials nationwide. Together with other partners, AMCHP and ASTHO are working to move forward ASTHO President Dr. David Lakey’s Healthy Babies initiative, which aims to accelerate state efforts to improve birth outcomes over the coming year. Dr. Lakey announced his Healthy Babies Presidential Challenge to all state health officials at last month’s ASTHO Annual Meeting in Portland, OR. At that conference, I had the chance to meet Dr. Lakey and discuss the ASTHO Presidential Challenge with him.[more]

November is Prematurity Awareness Month
Alliance Members, Like AMCHP and its Members, Help March of Dimes Grow Awareness for Preterm Birth Throughout the Country

By Phyllis Williams-Thompson, MS, CIM 
National Manager, Prematurity Campaign Outreach, March of Dines

Every year, more than half a million babies are born too soon in the United States. However, according to the March of Dimes 2011 Premature Birth Report Card, preterm birth rates improved in almost every state between 2006 and 2009, and in several states the change was more than 10 percent. [more]

Title X: Promoting Preconception Health through Family Planning

By Clare Coleman 
President and CEO, National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA)

Public health researchers and analysts familiar with the Title X program recognize it as the nation's only dedicated source of federal funding for family planning services. However, few know that in addition to the vital contraceptive and other sexual health services available in Title X-funded health centers, many women access a wide range of health services -- commonly referred to as preconception care -- designed to reduce and address risk factors known to affect future pregnancies. The Office of Population Affairs, the agency responsible for administering the Title X program, recognizing the natural fit between the public health goals of preventing unintended pregnancy and promoting healthy pregnancies, has made preconception care one of the Title X program priorities. [more]


Member states were asked the following question:What are some of your state’s current or planned activities related to inter-conception health?

Learn what Delaware is doing related to inter-conception health. [more]


Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait

By Ruth Ann Shepherd, M.D., FAAP 
Director, Division of Adult & Child Health Improvement, Kentucky Department of Public Health

Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® (HBWW) is a collaboration of March of Dimes and Johnson & Johnson. It was implemented as a pilot project with the Kentucky Department for Public Health in 2007 to address the rising rates of preterm birth. Kentucky was chosen for the project due to a high rate of preterm births, modifiable risk factors and strong collaboration among state perinatal leaders. The goal was to prevent "preventable" preterm birth using a community based, real-world, ecological design, by bundling interventions and implementing as many interventions known to reduce prematurity as possible. [more]

Innovative Practices in Prematurity Prevention and Preconception Health

Compiled by Kate Howe 
Program Manager, Child Health, AMCHP

This issue of Pulse contains several examples of how states are addressing prematurity and preconception health. Given limited resources and time, sharing these practices and lessons learned is important as states not only want to maximize existing knowledge, but also learn how the evidence is being used to lead to positive behavioral change and healthier outcomes in populations. The AMCHP Best Practices Program and Innovation Station database aims to foster that knowledge exchange by reviewing and cataloguing programs that have a strong design based on theoretical foundations and proven models, and that incorporate rigorous evaluation and continuous quality improvement to ensure the program is using that evidence-base to best meet health goals. [more]


Shop on Amazon and support AMCHP!

By clicking here and shopping, Amazon will
contribute to AMCHP!


Registration for the 2012 AMCHP Annual Conference is OPEN! Click here for more information and to register.


Making Super Predictions

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

Sometimes I think a big part of my job is to act like a human Magic Eight Ball – the kind you shake up and look in the little window for the thing to float up with a concise prediction. I’ve been joking a lot lately that during the debate on the Affordable Care Act I was foolish enough to offer several predictions on "what happens next," and since most of those turned out wrong I should take the hint to get out of the predictions business.

However, since another major part of my job is helping our state members anticipate how what happens in Washington, D.C. will impact what you are doing in the states, I’m going to climb out on a limb here and convey a prediction about the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (commonly known as the Super Committee). [more]


New MCH Leaders

See a list of new CYSHCN directors and partners, as well as a list of the 2011-2012 Family Scholars and Mentors. [more]

AMCHP welcomes new staff. [more]


AMCHP/MOD Webinar to Raise Prematurity Awareness 
To raise awareness around World Prematurity Day and Prematurity Awareness Month, AMCHP and the March of Dimes (MOC) will host a national webinar, "A Year of Progress Utilizing the Less Than 39 Weeks Toolkit: Building Successful Partnerships with Clinicians, Health Departments and the March of Dimes" on Nov. 15 from 3-4:30 p.m. EST. The 90-minute webinar will be moderated by Associate State Director of the March of Dimes California Chapter and Director of Big 5 State Prematurity Initiatives, Leslie Kowalewski. [

CMS Innovation Center Accepting Applications for New Innovation Advisors Program 
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Innovation Center seeks to deepen the capacity for transformation by creating a network of experts in improving the delivery system for Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program beneficiaries. The Innovation Advisors Program will support individuals who can test and refine new models to drive delivery system reform. The Innovation Advisors Program will select and develop as many as 200 individuals from across the nation in its first year. The deadline to submit applications is Nov. 15. [

MCHB Calls for Graduate Student Internship Program Application 
The Graduate Student Internship Program (GSIP), sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), strives to enhance students’ skills in data analysis, encourage training in MCH epidemiology, and providing assistance to state and local health agencies with data-related projects. MCHB is increasing its commitment to assisting agencies by supporting up to 20 interns in state-level MCH/CSHCN agencies and 10 in city and county MCH departments. Internship projects (limited to submissions by public -- state and local -- MCH agencies) should be grounded in the following three critical areas of MCH epidemiology: data analysis and monitoring, needs assessment and program evaluation. [

RWJF Community Health Leaders Releases Call for Nominations 
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Community Health Leaders each year honors up to 10 outstanding and otherwise unrecognized individuals who overcome daunting odds to improve health and health care, especially to underserved populations in communities across the United States. The program aims to elevate the work of these unsung leaders through heightened recognition, technical assistance and new leadership opportunities. The nomination deadline is Nov. 28 at 3 p.m. EST. [

To see more Get Involved listings, visit here.


See statistics on prematurity here.


View and download resources on prematurity/preconception health here.

Board of Directors

Meet the AMCHP Board of Directors.


Meet the AMCHP staff.


AMCHP Conference and Special Events

AMCHP 2012 Annual Conference
Feb. 11-14, 2012
Washington, DC

Adolescent and Young Adult Health Institutue
Feb. 11, 2012 (during the AMCHP Annual Conference Training Institute)
Washington, DC

A Life Course Dialogue: Exploring State-Level Implementation
Feb. 12, 2012 (during the AMCHP Annual Conference Training Institute) 
Washington, DC

AMCHP and March of Dimes Third Annual Mini-March for Babies
Feb. 14, 2012 at 10 a.m.
Washington, DC

Partner Events

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Directors Meetings
Feb. 12, 2012
Washington, DC

Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) Directors Meeting
Feb. 12, 2012
Washington, DC

National Summit on Quality In Home Visiting Programs
Feb. 15-16, 2012
Washington, DC

MCH Events

17th Annual MCH Epidemiology Conference
Dec. 14-16
New Orleans, LA

10th World Congress of Maternal and Neonatal Health
December 18-20
Rome, Italy

2nd Annual Making Lifelong Connections Meeting
(for MCHB trainees and former trainees)
Jan. 18-19, 2012
Orlando, FL

Prematurity Prevention Symposium
Jan. 19-20
Washington, DC

Health Action 2012
Jan. 19-21
Washington, DC

2012 National Health Promotion Summit
April 10-11, 2012
Washington, DC

Head Start’s 11th National Research Conference
June 18-20, 2012
Washington, DC