September 2011

From the President

Infant Mortality

By Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, FNP 

This issue of Pulse focuses on the topic of infant mortality. Infant mortality is the leading worldwide indicator of maternal and infant health status. This indicator is also valuable in assessing the quality and accessibility of primary health care available to pregnant women and infants, and the impact of poor socio-economic conditions on maternal and infant health. The status of infant mortality can be affected by many factors including the rates of neonatal and post-neonatal death which have a variety of associated risk factors. 
[read more]

From the CEO

An Interview with NHSA Executive Director Stacey Cunningham

By Mike R. Fraser, PhD CAE

This month’s AMCHP Pulse focuses on Infant Mortality. Infant mortality prevention is a priority of Title V programs nationwide, and states and communities employ a variety of strategies to address this critical maternal and child health (MCH) issue. In addition to the Title V MCH Services Block Grant, the Healthy Start Initiative is another significant federal investment in infant mortality prevention. I caught up with Stacey Cunningham, Executive Director of the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) here in Washington, DC, to talk more about the topic of infant mortality and the work of Healthy Start programs and the National Healthy Start Association.  [read more] 


HHS Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality Reconvenes 

By Lauren Raskin Ramos
Director of Programs, AMCHP

On Aug. 2, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary's Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality (SACIM) reconvened in Bethesda, MD with new members and a renewed energy/dedication to advancing strategies to reduce infant mortality in the United States. Chaired by Michael Lu, MD, MS, MPH, Associate Professor Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and David Geffen School of Medicine, at the University of California at Los Angeles and the Department of Community Health Sciences at the School of Public Health, SACIM’s purpose is to advise the secretary on HHS programs that are directed at reducing infant mortality and improving the health status of pregnant women and infants. The committee also provides advice on how best to coordinate federal, state, local and private efforts that address the health and social problems impacting infant mortality.  [read more]

Partnership to Eliminate Disparities in Infant Mortality Shares Lessons Learned

By Katie Brandert
Education & Training Manager, CityMatCH at the University of Nebraska Medical Center

Phyllis George
Program Manager, National Healthy Start Association

Jessica Hawkins
Senior Program Manager, Women’s & Infant Health and Region IV Liaison, AMCHP

To address disparities in infant mortality, CityMatCH, the Association of Maternal and 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 this partnership is to eliminate racial inequities contributing to infant mortality within U.S. urban areas. The first activity of the partnership was an 18-month Action Learning Collaborative (ALC) with six sites. [read more]

Success Stories

Declining Infant Mortality Rates in Maryland: The Babies Born Healthy Initiative

By Bonnie S. Birkel, CRNP, BSN, MPH 
Director, Maryland Center for Maternal and Child Health

As is the case in many states, racial and ethnic disparities exist for 10 of the 14 leading causes of death in Maryland. It is no surprise that infant mortality is among these. In recognition, Gov. O’Malley has made reducing infant mortality (and the racial disparity in infant mortality) one of the 15 strategic goals tracked by the Governor’s Delivery Unit (GDU). Fortunately, Maryland experienced a 10 percent decrease in infant mortality rates from 2008 to 2009 and a 7 percent decrease from 2009 to 2010, reducing rates to 6.7 per 1,000 live births (click here for the full report). This success is due in part to efforts spearheaded by the Maryland Center for Maternal and Child Health (CMCH) with many public and private sector partners at the state and local level. [more]

The MIME and DIME Programs: Challenges and Successes of Implementing Interpregnancy Care among High-Risk Mississippi Women

By Juanita Graham, MSN RN 
Connie Bish, PhD 
Lei Zhang, PhD 
Danielle Seale, LCSW
Mississippi State Department of Health

Mississippi has the highest state rate of infant mortality in the United States. Over the past several years, new studies and programs have been implemented to address maternal and infant health. Modeling a program implemented in Georgia, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) implemented pilot programs in two communities among women who delivered a very low birth weight infant. Very low birth weight accounts for more than half of Mississippi infant deaths each year. The pilot communities are predominantly African American with high rates of poverty, low birth weight (LBW) deliveries, infant mortality and morbidity combined with low rates of health insurance coverage and access to primary care services. The Metropolitan Infant Mortality Elimination (MIME) and Delta Infant Mortality Elimination (DIME) programs give varying perspectives – urban and rural – of implementing interpregnancy care in Mississippi. [more]

HRSA MCHB Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services Interconception Care Learning Collaborative (ICC LC)

By Stacey D. Cunningham, MSW, MPH 
Executive Director, National Healthy Start Association

In 2008, the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS) in the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) launched one of the largest action learning collaboratives, with over 500 individuals representing the federal Healthy Start Initiative. The ICC LC strives to improve the health and well-being of women and infants served by all 104 Healthy Start grants by advancing the quality and effectiveness of women’s health during interconception care in each project. [more]


View from Washington

Raising Awareness About Infant Mortality

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

I recently had the honor of representing AMCHP in a congressional briefing, cosponsored by AMCHP and organized by our colleagues at the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. The focus was on raising awareness among congressional staff, press and interested organizations about America’s standing on infant mortality.

I shared the following three key messages:

  • Infant mortality is the sentinel measure of how well society is protecting and promoting the health of women and children, and the lack of significant progress over the past decade should concern us all
  • State public health agencies use the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant as the foundation for efforts to move the needle on this critical indicator
  • Past and projected budget cuts will inhibit progress, we need Congress to help to sustain critical funding 

Despite the well-known challenges, the presentation kicked off with a positive, highlighting how the long-term view reveals tremendous progress over the past century. [read more]

Who's New

New MCH Leaders

See a list of new MCH Directors, Title V and CYSHCN directors 
[read more]

AMCHP welcomes new staff. [read more] 

Get Involved

Registration for the 2012 AMCHP Annual Conference Is Now Open
The 2012 AMCHP Annual conference will be held Feb. 11-14, 2012, at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, DC. To register, visit here. Don’t miss our early-bird registration rates – register now! 

Full conference registration includes all conference events, including the AMCHP Annual Conference Training Institute – Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12 (until noon) – a rich schedule of skills-building sessions and other training opportunities. Watch the AMCHP website for updates as the program develops. [more

AMCHP is Pleased to Announce the Launch of the Ryan Colburn Scholarship Fund
AMCHP is now accepting applications and will be awarding a scholarship to one youth leader to attend the 2012 AMCHP Annual Conference. The deadline is Friday, Oct. 14 by 8 p.m. ET. For more information, please click here or contact Michelle Jarvis at (202) 775-1472. [more]

AMCHP Funding Opportunity: Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Developmental Disabilities
Deadline: Nov. 2
AMCHP, through funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), will provide 10-15 grants of up to $15,000 each to public health entities (e.g. Title V, WIC, Early Head Start, home-visiting programs, etc.) to integrate "Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) materials and messages into programs that serve parents of young children, support the collaboration of Act Early State Teams, and evaluate progress. AMCHP will provide ongoing technical assistance, disseminate resource materials, and link grantees to other states and experts in autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities (ASD/DD). The funding announcement can be accessed here and an informational call for interested applicants will be held in early October 2011 (exact date TBD). [more

Webinar on the Life Course Perspective
The webinar, “The Life Course Perspective in Promoting Health in Aging,” will feature Diana Kuh, PhD, Director of the Unit for Lifelong Health and Ageing at the Medical Research Council (MRC), Director of the MRC National Survey of Health and Development, and Principal investigator for HALCyon, on Oct. 10 from 1 to 2 p.m. EST. [more]

Data and Trends

See a map of best practice program submissions by state here. 


View and download resources on infant mortality 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 (during the AMCHP Annual Conference Training Institute)
Washington, DC

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

AMCHP and March of Dimes Third Annual Mini-March for Babies
Feb. 14, 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

Child Health Day
Oct. 3

NASHP 24th Annual State Health Policy Conference
Oct. 3-5
Kansas City, MO

American Public Health Association Annual Meeting
Oct. 29-Nov. 2
Washington, DC