Infant Health

  • The Value of Increasing Exclusive Breastfeeding along the Texas-Mexico Border

    Posted February 04, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    A baseline report shows that only 15 percent of infants born in South Texas (Health Service Region 11) in 2009 were exclusively breastfed on their second day of life compared to 42 percent of infants in Texas overall, and as many as 55 percent in other parts of the state. An increase in exclusive breastfeeding in the Valley could not only increase the state’s overall rate, but could provide a roadmap for other similar communities to follow to improve the health of their residents.

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  • Protecting Babies From Sleep-Related Deaths Starts With Painting a Clear Picture

    Posted January 28, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Today’s parents and parents-to-be rely a great deal on the Internet, print and broadcast media to inform their childcare and parenting practices. Yet in a recent study of magazines targeting women of child-bearing age, more than one-third of images showed babies in unsafe sleep positions (e.g., on their stomachs) and more than two-thirds showed babies in unsafe sleep environments (e.g., in a crib with blankets). Thousands of precious lives could be saved each year if every parent and caregiver had a clear picture of what it takes to protect their babies during sleep.

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  • Join Interactive Webinar on Improving the Health of New Mothers

    Posted January 26, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    NICHQ, along with partners AMCHP and the UNC Center for Maternal and Infant Health, is turning the session “Improving the Health of New Mothers: Building Woman‐Centered Postpartum Systems of Care” into a free public webinar. We invite you to join us on Feb. 2, from 3:30-5 p.m. ET

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  • Moms Deserve Better Care In The Fourth Trimester

    Posted January 20, 2016 by Alison Stuebe

    In the weeks following childbirth, mothers must adapt to plunging hormones, recover from birth and learn how to feed and care for a new infant. Amid these challenges, moms receive minimal support from the healthcare system. Postpartum visits are typically scheduled four to six weeks after birth, leaving moms to cope on their own for more than a month. Moms need more support in the weeks following birth.

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  • Supporting Breastfeeding Across A Hospital System

    Posted January 04, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    Changing a habit is not easy, even when you know it is “good for you.” The same goes for changing healthcare systems. The benefits of breastfeeding are well known, and supported by the World Health Organization, the Joint Commission, and many other healthcare accreditation and oversight agencies and experts. However, many hospitals struggle to create environments that support mothers who choose to breastfeed.

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  • States Use Home Visiting Programs to Spread Safe Sleep Messages

    Posted November 18, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    The growing demand for maternal and child health services and support, coupled with stagnant or shrinking resources, is causing state health departments to find creative ways to do more with less. Many states are leveraging home visiting programs as a convenient way to spread important information and strategies related to safe sleep practices, a key component of infant mortality reduction efforts.

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  • Being Small Has Advantages for Hospitals Implementing the Ten Steps

    Posted November 13, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Turns out, size may not matter. Small rural hospitals in New York State are experiencing as much, if not more, success in implementing evidenced-based practices to improve maternity care practices as their bigger suburban and urban counterparts.

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  • Battling Prematurity to Ensure a Fighting Chance for Every Baby

    Posted November 10, 2015 by March of Dimes

    Every year, about 380,000 babies are born too soon in the United States. Our preterm birth rate of 9.6 percent places the U.S. among the worst of high resource nations. Preterm birth is the leading cause of newborn death and babies who survive an early birth often face serious and lifelong health problems. November is the time to focus the spotlight on the problem of prematurity during Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Day Nov. 17.

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  • Bringing the APHA Poster Session to You

    Posted November 05, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    NICHQ staff members were thrilled to see so many familiar faces at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in Chicago earlier this week. The meeting’s theme was “Health in All Policies.” We couldn’t agree more that the environments in which people learn, live, play and work have a tremendous impact on their health.

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  • 4 Tips for Reducing Formula Supplementation in the Hospital

    Posted October 27, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    When a patient recently delivered her second baby at Harris Health System’s Lyndon B. Johnson Hospital in Houston, she was surrounded by a team dedicated to supporting her decision to breastfeed. The support, which began in the delivery room and continued after she returned home, made a difference.

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  • New Video: Methods for Moving a Nation

    Posted October 22, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    In this new video from the IM CoIIN project, hear how the project is cleverly combining three key methods for change—collaborative learning, innovation networks and quality improvement—to achieve results in reducing infant mortality across the country.

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  • Save a Life With Your Facebook Feed

    Posted October 20, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    While Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is only a day, and SIDS Awareness Month is only a month, education and awareness have lasting effects. By working together through the power of social media, we can save more babies.

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  • NY Hospital Sees Breastfeeding Rates Soar with Neonatologist Leading Change

    Posted October 15, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    Yogangi Malhotra, MD, attending neonatologist and an early champion of breastfeeding, knew it wouldn’t be easy to bring change to New York’s Montefiore New Rochelle Hospital. But, her unique role as a neonatologist and the QI project team leader helped foster change more quickly in five key areas.

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  • Baby-Friendly Hospitals Go From Crawling to Cruising

    Posted October 08, 2015 by NICHQ

    The new issue of Vital Signs from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention focuses on hospital actions that influence breastfeeding—and there is good news. Hospitals are making progress implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, evidence-based practices that create an environment to support mothers who choose to breastfeed.

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  • Managing Life Stressors Helps to Reduce Infant Mortality

    Posted September 29, 2015 by Wendy Loveland

    Participants in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) are working to reduce the U.S.’s infant mortality rate and improve birth outcomes. By addressing the underlying causes of infant mortality, in particular, stress, teams hope to reduce infant deaths overall, as well as close the disparity gap between white and black babies.

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  • Diaper Vouchers Add Extra Incentive for Pregnant Women to Quit Smoking

    Posted September 22, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    It is not exactly cold hard cash, but don’t poo poo it. Free diapers are enough of an incentive to encourage pregnant women to quit smoking and stay quit.

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  • Prenatal to Postpartum Continuum of Care Provides Benefits for Mothers Choosing to Breastfeed

    Posted September 15, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Educating mothers about the benefits of breastfeeding before they enter the hospital increases the likelihood mothers will choose the beneficial feeding method. However, building bridges between care providers, community groups and hospitals can be surprisingly difficult. One community participating in the New York State Breastfeeding Quality Improvement in Hospitals (BQIH) Learning Collaborative has figured it out.

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  • A Practical Approach to Keep Stakeholders Engaged

    Posted September 10, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    When it comes to building and maintaining support for its ongoing infant mortality reduction efforts, the Wisconsin Division of Public Health has a practical solution: repackage and re-share. Factsheets are helping Wisconsin build and maintain support for their infant health work.

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  • Addressing Infant Health Disparities in the American Indian Population Starts by Building Trust with Tribes

    Posted September 03, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    Native Americans have rich traditions and beliefs that often conflict with Western healthcare culture. To address disparities in infant health in this vulnerable population, experts say public health and healthcare workers need to build relationships first, then offer advice second.

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  • Resources and Must Reads for Infant Mortality Awareness and Sickle Cell Awareness Month

    Posted September 01, 2015 by NICHQ

    NICHQ is joining with organizations around the country and world to celebrate Infant Mortality Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month in September. NICHQ has a long history of working to improve outcomes on these health topics. We invite you to explore and share our resources, stories, videos and other materials related to reducing infant mortality rates and improving care for individuals with sickle cell disease.

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  • Medicaid Reimbursement Policies for LARC Aid Awareness, Use

    Posted July 29, 2015 by Claire Rudolph and Ellen Pliska of ASTHO

    LARC methods include intrauterine devices (IUD) and hormone contraceptive implants that prevent ovulation. While women can begin to use LARC at any time, ACOG has identified the immediate post-partum (IPP) timeframe as being particularly favorable due to the convenience for both patients and providers, as well as increased motivation of women to seek contraceptives. Even with this guidance, rates of LARC insertion during IPP remain low.

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  • States Put the Squash on Smoking During Pregnancy

    Posted July 24, 2015 by NICHQ

    One of the core strategies for lowering the U.S. infant mortality rate is to reduce smoking before, during and after pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with multiple fetal health risks, including sudden unexpected infant death. Currently, 21 of 53 states and territories that are part of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) are testing different smoking cessation methods in their communities.

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  • Parent Partner Advice: Get Involved in Any Way That You Can!

    Posted July 15, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Andrea Thompson is a parent partner on the quality improvement team for the Kingwood Medical Center in Kingwood, TX. The hospital is participating in the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative, which seeks to help hospitals improve their maternity care practices to better support mothers who choose to breastfeed. Thompson has been extremely active with Kingwood’s breastfeeding support group, as well as its social media efforts to engage mothers. We recently sat down with the mother of a 3-year-old boy, Troy, to find out more about her role as a parent partner.

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  • Alaska Shows Perinatal Regionalization Works to Reduce Infant Deaths

    Posted July 13, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    When Stephanie Birch, RNC, MPH, MS, was a new nurse in 1982, Alaska’s infant mortality rate was the highest in the nation. More than 30 years later, Alaska sits at the opposite end of the spectrum, with the lowest rate of infant deaths. While it wasn’t a quick fix, Birch says Alaska shows significant improvement is possible. "You have to be willing to be open to the possibilities for improvement,” she says. “And, don’t give up.”

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  • Retraining Hospital Staff to Prioritize Breastfeeding

    Posted July 09, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    About 80 percent of the women giving birth at CHRISTUS Hospital - St. Elizabeth in Beaumont, TX breastfeed with 50 percent exclusively breastfeeding during their stay. The exclusive rate is up 13 percent from just two years ago. The increase is a result of considerable efforts to retrain staff, eliminate formula giveaways, prioritize skin-to-skin bonding between mother and baby, and educate pregnant women about the benefits of breastfeeding.

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  • Why I Participate: By Parent Partner Malorie Thurman

    Posted July 02, 2015 by Malorie Thurman

    Malorie Thurman, a mother of three, says she joined the Texas Ten Step Star Achiever Breastfeeding Learning Collaborative as a parent partner as a way to see that mothers are given the best possibility to experience the outcome they desire with their delivery. "This was my opportunity to give back to those who had been so helpful to me and my family. It is a wonderful feeling knowing you have been an intricate part of such amazing changes that will impact so many people in and around your community."

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  • Hospital Breaks Barriers for Cesarean Section Couplet

    Posted June 23, 2015 by Kristie Velarde

    Incorporating system-level changes at hospitals to stop the separation of mother and baby post C-section has been a particularly challenging area for hospitals. But with months of coaching from NICHQ about how to implement system changes under their belt, nurses at Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center knew a recent scenario was an opportunity for change.

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  • Strengthening and Leveraging Preconception and Interconception Health

    Posted June 15, 2015 by NICHQ

    In a blog post co-authored by NICHQ's IM CoIIN Project Director Elaine Fitzgerald, read about how national partnerships are elevating the work of promoting women's health before (preconception) and in between (interconception) pregnancies.

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  • Fire Chief Puts Baby Skin-to-Skin

    Posted June 09, 2015 by NICHQ

    One nurse at Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital has taken spreading evidence-based maternity care practices to a new level—well, more accurately, a new place: a home delivery.

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  • Investigating a Possible Link Between Substance Abuse and Infant Mortality

    Posted June 04, 2015 by Rachel Kremen

    Washington state is known for having a low rate of infant mortality—fifth lowest in the U.S. But the state is still actively working on reducing infant mortality even further. In fact, leaders in the state are developing an interesting strategy that targets substance abuse.

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  • A Positive Step Toward Exclusive Breastfeeding Rate Improvement

    Posted June 02, 2015 by NICHQ

    A recent study published by Pediatrics highlights that the percentage of hospitals distributing formula to breastfeeding mothers at time of discharge has decreased significantly in recent years, a positive sign toward hospitals embracing evidence-based maternity care practices that support a mother’s choice to breastfeed.

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  • Best Fed Beginnings Hospital Still Making Headlines: MUSC Opens First Milk Bank in South Carolina

    Posted May 29, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    Best Fed Beginnings alumni hospital Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) has launched a milk bank in South Carolina. The milk bank will provide breast milk to very low birth-weight babies (weighing less than 3.3 pounds) in neonatal intensive care units throughout the state.

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  • Inspiring Video: How States Are Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

    Posted May 21, 2015 by Cindy Hutter

    In this new video from the IM CoIIN project, you can hear success stories and strategies being used to reduce infant mortality and eliminate racial disparities in cities, counties and towns across the US.

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  • Keeping the Donations Flowing Past the Halfway Mark

    Posted May 19, 2015 by NICHQ

    Your support allows us to continue our multi-sector, multidisciplinary work to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes in the United States. While we hope you will take our $50 challenge and donate to our campaign, we would be remiss if we didn’t shine a light on some of the other great organizations within “The Next 10” campaign working on global infant health initiatives.

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  • Making Breastfeeding Support a Community Affair

    Posted May 14, 2015 by Kristen Holmstrand

    In Plattsburgh, a small town in upstate New York, creating a support group for breastfeeding mothers may have been driven by the local hospital, but it quickly became the community's baby.

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  • High-Profile Coverage for a High-Passion Concern

    Posted May 11, 2015 by Lauren A. Smith, MD, MPH

    We are excited and galvanized by our progress so far in reducing infant mortality and hope you will help us spread awareness about this critically important issue. I invite you to participate, learn, share and donate through the Huffington Post fundraising campaign. Our eyes are on the prize of reducing infant mortality and eliminated disparities in infant mortality.

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  • Putting Unsafe Sleep Marketing to Bed

    Posted May 08, 2015 by Tricia Finnerty

    It's vitally important that parents and other infant caregivers receive consistent and accurate messaging on safe sleep—from their healthcare providers, their support systems, state agencies and what they see in media and retail. But unfortunately, expectant families receive a lot of mixed messages.

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  • A First Response to Safe Sleep Habits

    Posted May 06, 2015 by NICHQ

    Thousands of infants die each year in unsafe sleep conditions. Sadly, the majority of sleep related deaths are preventable. One innovative and successful approach to reduce this tragedy is to train law enforcement, fire rescue squads and other first responders to educate families about safe sleep habits.

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  • Advice from One MD to Another on Supporting Breastfeeding

    Posted May 01, 2015 by Todd Wolynn, MD, IBCLC, MMM

    I’m often asked how I, a man, got involved in breastfeeding medicine. The truth is: I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. And that experience made me the right person.

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  • Breastfeeding Success Depends On Support During Pregnancy As Much As After

    Posted February 09, 2015 by Pamela Berens, MD

    Most new moms have heard the message that breastfeeding is best for the health of their baby. Unfortunately, successfully meeting a breastfeeding goal isn’t always as easy as deciding to breastfeed. Having ongoing education about breastfeeding during pregnancy can help just as much as post pregnancy, yet it is often not emphasized enough.

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  • Find Success and Mirror It - Can It Be That Simple?

    Posted December 12, 2014 by Elissa Faro, PhD

    Childhood malnutrition. Infant mortality. Childhood obesity. Health inequalities and disparities. These are just some of the most demanding problems facing those who work to improve child health. However, these big issues are often seemingly intractable. How do you move the needle when previous efforts have yielded such meager results? One answer may lie in the concept of positive deviance.

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  • Contradicting Assumptions About Infant Mortality Rates: How Far Upstream?

    Posted November 04, 2014 by Charles J. Homer, MD, MPH

    Learning often begins when facts contradict our assumptions. While attending the kickoff summits of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality in July, I became aware of at least two facts that contradicted my previous assumptions: (1) that infant mortality rates for non-Hispanic blacks are higher in the upper Midwestern states than they are in the deep South and (2) that the declines in infant mortality in several southern states over the past decade have been steeper than anywhere else in the country.

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  • Improvements in Maternity Care Practice Are Not Easy

    Posted September 22, 2014 by Lori Feldman-Winter, MD, MPH

    As NICHQ’s faculty chair for Best Fed Beginnings, a national initiative that supports hospitals seeking Baby-Friendly designation, I am frequently exposed to pushback regarding the improvements required for a hospital to achieve this designation. Recently, an article published in the Washington Post portrayed Baby-Friendly practices as a problematic set of policies that “force” a new mother to breastfeed against her wishes. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

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  • Why I Struggled to Find My Breastfeeding North Star

    Posted August 27, 2014 by Katrina McCarty, MPA

    As a new mom, I found myself searching for a true guiding presence as I tried to make decisions about caring for my daughter and myself. I knew I wanted to breastfeed her and I assumed it would be easy. I assumed the stars would align and she and I would be deliriously connected and she would be nourished. I assumed a hungry baby and a food source were enough. Not quite.

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  • A Busy Summer: Building Blocks, Babies and Breastfeeding

    Posted August 15, 2014 by Meghan Johnson, MSc

    August is typically a month for relaxing, vacationing and taking long weekends to enjoy the warm weather. At NICHQ, we get our share of R & R, but August 2014 is also a particularly busy and exciting time! In August, we celebrate National Breastfeeding Month and World Breastfeeding Week (August 1-7), and as part of that, I am excited to help launch NICHQ’s new breastfeeding project with the New York State Department of Health.

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  • Communicate, Collaborate and Innovate to Reduce Infant Mortality

    Posted July 02, 2014 by Peter Gloor, PhD

    Compared to other Western countries, infant mortality in the US is shockingly high. High infant mortality is a social problem that can only be solved through massive collaboration and out-of-the-box innovation.

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  • What Rosie Revere, Engineer Teaches Me About Innovation

    Posted February 19, 2014 by Marianne McPherson, PhD, MS

    I’ve been thinking about innovation a lot lately, in large part due to a renewed commitment at NICHQ to be a hub for creating and spreading innovations. I am so excited about this commitment because I know that new ideas and new approaches—and building them together—will help create a world in which all children achieve their optimal health.

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  • When Did Breastfeeding Become a Choice?

    Posted January 09, 2014 by Jennifer Ustianov, RN, BSN, IBCLC

    I know the tides are beginning to turn. Recent reports show breastfeeding rates are increasing in the US. The journey back to a more supportive breastfeeding culture has begun in this country. But I wonder whether there is more we can do to accelerate this process, so that from this generation forward there is no question and no need to choose.

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breastfeeding Baby-Friendly infant health Ten Steps disparities Data information visualization charts QI safe sleep infant mortality SIDS SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips quality improvement ongoing improvement fourth trimester maternal and child health quality care patient and family engagement partnership quality and safety coaching support PDSA Cycle leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute IM CoIIN CoIIN Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision screening vision care vision health sickle cell disease SCD evidence-based guidelines ASH obesity wellness health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes public health APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy NICHQ leadership Berns Best Fed Beginnings Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data smoking cessation PFAC medical home community partners social determinants of health preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans vulnerable populations parent partner ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit patient engagement system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening asthma LARC ASTHO reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step perinatal regionalization skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests PDSA acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception interconception health National Coordinating and Evaluation Center Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis Huffington Post fundraising campaign first responders