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 Partnerships to Strengthen and Leverage Preconception and Interconception Health

Elaine Fitzgerald.jpgBy Elaine L. Fitzgerald, DrPH, MIA                                           
Infant Mortality CoIIN Project Director, NICHQ                                                                                  
 
Sarah Verbiest, DrPH, MSW, MPH
Executive Director, UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health
Senior Consultant, National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative

The national Infant Mortality (IM) Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network (CoIIN) officially launched in February 2015 with 53 U.S. states and jurisdictions participating in one or more of six learning networks. The Sarah Verbiest.jpglearning network topics evolved after an iterative state-driven process to identify the strategies that jurisdictions prioritized most highly. Among the topics, promoting women's health before and between pregnancies was identified by 30 jurisdictions, making the Preconception and Interconception Care (PCC ICC) Learning Network the second largest learning network after safe sleep. The PCC ICC learning network aims to improve life course health for women with a focus on pre and interconception care by July 2016. Several goals were set, including: 1) Improve the postpartum visit rate 10 percent or more relative to the state baseline; 2) Improve adolescent well visit rate 10 percent or more relative to the state baseline; 3) Improve birth intention and client choice of contraceptive methods including most and moderately effective contraception; 4) Improve birth spacing and reduce the proportion of live births that were conceived < 6 and < 12 months from the previous live birth by 10 percent or more relative to state baseline and ultimately <18; and 5) Reduce racial/ethnic disparities in the above goals for non-Hispanic whites by 10 percent or more relative to the state baseline. There are four primary drivers identified to support these goals, which include: improve health equity and social determinants of pre and interconception health; heighten public awareness and acceptance of value of health care for adolescent women; provide comprehensive health care in childbearing years; and deliver valuable postpartum care.

Key partners in the field, including the National Preconception Health and Health Care (PCHHC) Initiative, ASTHO, AMCHP, CDC, and the March of Dimes, to name a few, were critical to the development of the aim statement, goals, and supporting measures. The IM CoIIN focuses on catalyzing ideas and engaging the work of national, state and local experts to support change. Efforts aim to amplify existing work, not replace it. To this end, the PCHHC and IM CoIIN team is hoping to learn more about projects, products, websites and materials that have been developed across the country to improve pre and interconception health. Share your resources directly with Sarah Verbiest at sarahv@med.unc.edu.
 
A two-day in person meeting for IM CoIIN participants will be held in Boston from Jul. 27-28, 2015. Participation will assist states to identify opportunities for continued improvements and innovations in reducing infant mortality; collaborate across jurisdictions and learning networks to accelerate improvement; enhance patient and family participation across multiple levels and sectors; augment state capacity to utilize data to track progress and inform areas of improvement and innovation; and to integrate health equity knowledge and strategies to address disparities in birth outcomes. There will be multiple opportunities to learn about and share resources on PCC/ICC health during the in person meeting in July, however, if you are unable to attend visit the IM CoIIN online community at imcoiin.community.nichq.org and www.beforeandbeyond.org for great resources.