Infant Mortality: A Call to Action

March 25th, 2013 by Will Humble Leave a reply »

A new program is coming to help address infant mortality rates in Arizona thanks to the leadership of Dr. Maria Manriquez and the Maricopa Integrated Health System- who was awarded a Strong Start for Mothers and Newborns grant from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).  They’ll be developing enhanced prenatal care at maternity care homes, including psychosocial support, education and health promotion, in addition to traditional prenatal care… reaching 1,500 high-risk pregnant women over a three-year period.  

Why is it necessary, you ask?  Because Arizona is 22nd in the nation in infant mortality… and the US ranks 173 out of 223 nations in this important public health metric.  While we’ve been able to decrease infant mortality and prematurity rates in AZ by 13% in the last 6 years… there’s still a long way to go. 

In an earlier blog I talked about ADHS accepting the ASTHO challenge to reduce prematurity by an additional 8% by 2014.  We’re working to accomplish this goal by expanding and improving home visiting programs, supporting the March of Dimes “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait 39 Week Toolkit,” and implementing the Arizona Preconception Health Strategic Plan to name a few examples. Additionally, our Bureau of Women’s and Children’s Health was chosen to participate in the Association of Maternal and Child Health Program’s Improving Birth Outcomes learning collaborative.



  1. Melody Fisher says:

    Midwives have a long standing tradition of improving infant outcomes. Since our state is working on revamping the midwifery rules, why not marry these two projects. I guaraente the midwives will improve the state statistics.

  2. TaiLeah Madill says:

    Let’s go one step further and work to implement a midwifery model of care with every pregnancy, labor, and delivery. One of the most recent, long term ‘studies’ undertaken is by those births occurring in Tennessee at a place called ‘The Farm’. Those statistics are startling and show how births and management of pregnancy can be handled to assure the highest positive outcomes for mothers and babies, and how those practicing in hospitals and out of hospitals can collaborate to assure the highest level of care and safety for every mother and baby, even across socioeconomical, ethnicity, and other factors. Please look to include midwives and their body of knowledge to help push AZ to the forefront of maternal and neonatal care and establish AZ as the best place to give birth.

  3. Alicia Witt says:

    Please consider coupling this program with SAFE Midwifery practice.

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