Public Health

  • Race and the Inequity in Maternal and Infant Health

    Posted November 17, 2016 by Avery Desrosiers

    Racial disparities in health and healthcare access have a profound affect on infant health, especially when it comes to preterm births.

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  • Why I Participate: TaLana Hughes, MPH

    Posted November 03, 2016 by TaLana Hughes, MPH

    TaLana Hughes, MPH, Executive Director of the Sickle Cell Disease Association of Illinois, shares why she participates in the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program.

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  • The Gamification of Exercise for Children

    Posted October 20, 2016 by Josh Grant

    In 2014, the obesity rate for children and teenagers between ages 2 and 19 in the United States increased to 17.2 percent, up from 13.9 percent in 1999. While various organizations and agencies are working to help children lead healthy lifestyles, there has been another trend in recent years that has come into play: gamification.

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  • Medicaid Incentives for Effective Contraceptive Use and Postpartum Care

    Posted October 11, 2016 by Carrie Hanlon

    Unplanned and complex births carry potentially avoidable health complications and costs to families and states. Broad healthcare payment and delivery reform is underway across the country to improve outcomes, enhance patient experience and reduce costs. Some states are capitalizing on these reforms to promote planned and healthy births by driving improvement in effective contraceptive use and postpartum follow up care. Their efforts create potential opportunities for cross-agency collaboration and integrate well with other initiatives, such as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Maternal and Infant Health Initiative and the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN).

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  • Healthy Start Celebrates 25 Years of Creating Community Leaders

    Posted October 04, 2016 by Rachael Ruffin

    For 25 years, the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) has served as a leading voice in support of government policies and programs that serve pregnant women, babies, and families in vulnerable communities. NHSA works diligently to ensure optimal birth outcomes and elimination of disparities advocating for community-based services, such as outreach, home visitation, care coordination, health education, health and depression screening, and paternal engagement programs.

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  • PATCH-ing up Communication Between Providers and Teenagers

    Posted September 27, 2016 by Josh Grant

    The Wisconsin Providers and Teens Communicating for Health (PATCH) program is helping to reduce teen pregnancy rates in Wisconsin by enhancing communication between teenagers and their healthcare providers. The PATCH program trains and employs Teen Educators who then educate medical professionals on how to communicate with younger patients, with a particular focus on sensitive subjects, including sexual and reproductive health.

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  • Community Health Workers Provide a Safety Net for Patients with Sickle Cell Disease

    Posted September 15, 2016 by Sonya Spillmann, RN

    Increasing the number of patients with sickle cell disease (SCD) who receive regular care from knowledgeable providers is one of the three main goals of the Sickle Cell Disease Treatment Demonstration Program (SCDTDP), for which NICHQ is the national coordinating center. But what happens to patients with SCD who have trouble initiating or remaining in treatment? Through the SCDTDP, community health workers (CHWs) are a critical layer of support for these at-risk patients.

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  • How Asking One Key Question Helps Moms and Healthcare Providers Prepare for Pregnancy

    Posted September 13, 2016 by Josh Grant

    A healthy pregnancy starts before conception, but almost half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. This increases the risk of poor outcomes for both moms and babies. Planning can help women better prepare themselves for pregnancy, and it all starts with a single question from their doctors: Would you like to become pregnant in the next year? The One Key Question® (OKQ) initiative from the Oregon Foundation for Reproductive Health (OFRH) encourages healthcare providers to ask every woman this specific question because it changes the context of other health factors.

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  • Infographic – America’s Problem: Infant Mortality

    Posted September 07, 2016 by Josh Grant

    Although great strides have been made in recent years, infant mortality remains a problem in the United States. The infant mortality rate has declined – dropping 13 percent between 2005 and 2013 – while still leaving the U.S. far behind many industrialized nations.

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  • Innovations and Inspirations for Improving Children's Health: September 2016

    Posted September 01, 2016 by Josh Grant

    Across the United States, organizations and government agencies are creating new approaches to improve children’s health. Because we support innovation for helping children lead healthier lives, we’ve highlighted some of the most exciting initiatives we’ve seen in the last few weeks. Read on to learn how some groups are addressing critical health needs.

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  • Three Projects Make Strides Towards Improving Child Health Systems

    Posted July 28, 2016 by Josh Grant

    At the outset of every project, we determine how it will relate to our three areas of focus—bridging health and healthcare, improving systems of care, and increasing support for healthy beginnings. Recently, three new projects have touched on these foundations, progressing towards improvements in systems for children’s health and outcomes for families.

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  • Babies in Utero Experience Effects of National Opioid Addiction Epidemic

    Posted July 21, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    Opioid abuse is at a crisis point in the U.S., and it’s affecting more and more babies in utero. Babies born to women who use opioids are cutoff from those drugs at birth, which puts the babies at risk for a cluster of neurological, gastrointestinal and respiratory symptoms that are collectively referred to as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). Nationally, NAS has increased fivefold since 2000, and this rate, too, has become steeper in the past few years. In 2009, one infant was born with NAS per hour. By 2012, one baby was born with NAS every 25 minutes.

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  • How Can Maternal Mental Health Be Improved During and After Pregnancy?

    Posted July 12, 2016 by Josh Grant

    Maternal mental health is a key part of moms’ and children’s health outcomes. According to the World Health Organization, 10 percent of pregnant women and 13 percent of postpartum women have mental health concerns, such as depression. Fortunately, these cases are largely treatable, especially if doctors are able to intervene early on.

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  • Innovations and Inspirations for Improving Children’s Health: June 2016

    Posted June 21, 2016 by Josh Grant

    Programs from healthcare providers, government agencies and other organizations help improve children's health by addressing new needs and closing gaps in care. This month, we've found innovative and inspirational examples touch on subjects like children's sleep during hospital stays and efforts to improve in-school care.

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  • NICHQ’s Sickle Cell Work Highlighted in Special Supplement to AJPM

    Posted June 16, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Two articles related to NICHQ’s portfolio of sickle cell projects are featured in a special sickle cell supplement of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine out today, in advance of World Sickle Cell Day June 19.

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  • Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding Videos Showcase Strategies for Successful Implementation

    Posted June 07, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    A new video series is showcasing how healthcare providers in Texas are successfully implementing the Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding, a set of evidence-based practices hospitals can follow to increase breastfeeding initiation and duration by new moms. Created by the Texas Department of State Health Services, this 10-video series features healthcare providers sharing their strategies for success on the pathway to improvement.

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  • Why Closing the Health Equity Divide Can’t Wait Any Longer

    Posted June 01, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    With the projection that more than half of the nation’s children will be part of a minority race or ethnic group by 2020, the need to address health equity has never been stronger.Equity in healthcare is the idea that everyone has the same access to quality care, regardless of social, economic, demographic or geographical differences. This ideal is not a current reality in the U.S. healthcare system. There are many barriers hampering health equity and the overall health of America’s children.

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  • Medicaid Strategies to Promote Increased Access to Long-Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)

    Posted May 24, 2016 by Tamara Kramer; Karen VanLandeghem, MPH

    Unplanned pregnancies can present a tremendous challenge for many women, healthcare payers and the community, and are associated with a number of negative health outcomes, such as delayed prenatal care and premature births. Efforts like the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) recent guidance and the Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) have improved maternal and infant health outcomes, while also highlighting the $10 billion cost burden Medicaid expends on unplanned births.

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  • Innovations and Inspirations for Improving Children’s Health: May 2016

    Posted May 19, 2016 by Josh Grant

    Across the United States, organizations and government agencies are creating new approaches to improve children’s health. Because we support innovation for helping children lead healthier lives, we’ve highlighted some of the most exciting initiatives we’ve seen in the last few weeks. Read on to learn how some groups are addressing critical health needs.

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  • Putting the Cross-Sector Gears in Motion: How 3 Best Babies Zones Are Moving Towards Cross-Sector Action to Reduce Disparities in Infant Mortality

    Posted May 17, 2016 by Monica Barr

    The Best Babies Zone (BBZ) Initiative has been working on the social determinants of health for four years. In 2012, BBZ was launched to address the social, economic and environmental factors that contribute to poor birth outcomes. With funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, three small pilot “zones” were launched in Cincinnati, OH, New Orleans, LA, and Oakland, CA. In these cities, a lead organization connects and convenes partners from across sectors, creating possibilities for innovative projects that address the root causes of infant mortality in that community.

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  • Rhode Island Targets Social Factors to Achieve Health Equity

    Posted May 05, 2016 by Rachel Kremen

    While a higher percentage of Rhode Islanders have health insurance compared to the U.S. average, achieving health equity has been a challenge for the state—especially for its infant mortality rate. Now, the Rhode Island Department of Health is targeting key social factors that impact infant mortality in minority groups, including education, income and stress. The Rhode Island Commission for Health Advocacy and Equity was created in 2011 to address the inequity, by bringing together state agencies to focus on the social determinants of health—typically defined as the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life. Aligning the efforts of those inside and outside the state is also key.

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  • Medicaid Strategies to Promote Full-Term Births

    Posted May 03, 2016 by Tamara Kramer

    Reducing the rate of pre-term birth is a major priority for state health agencies and a growing concern for state Medicaid programs. Medicaid agencies provide coverage for over half of the nation’s births each year and pay for a higher rate of premature or low-birth weight babies than the private insurance market (10.4 percent versus 9.1 percent). Pre-term birth, a birth that occurs prior to 37 weeks of gestation, is the leading cause of infant mortality in the United States. Early delivery is associated with a host of long-term health issues for the infant, including sight and hearing loss, cerebral palsy and developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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  • Just Download It: Wyoming Discovers Novel Way to Help Pregnant Mothers

    Posted March 29, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Wyoming is improving its birth outcomes one downloader at a time. An interactive mobile app—Due Date Plus—that the state Medicaid office developed for pregnant women is redefining prenatal education and transforming how Medicaid meets the needs of its pregnant population.

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  • Better Care for High-Risk Babies: Improving Perinatal Regionalization in Illinois

    Posted March 10, 2016 by Elizabeth Baker

    An ongoing effort from the Illinois team involved in the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) is to get 90 percent of very preterm infants in Illinois delivered in Level 3 perinatal facilities. These facilities feature neonatal intensive care units (NICUs), where a combination of leading-edge technology and specially trained staff can vastly improve health outcomes for high-risk babies.

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  • 4 Strategies for Building a Public Health Social Movement

    Posted March 03, 2016 by Cindy Hutter

    Forget the old marketing tactic of shouting loud and often. Mario Drummonds, MS, LCSW, MBA, the CEO of Strategy Interactions, and a participant in the NICHQ-led Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN), shares four strategies for building a public health social movement to increase state and national attention on your healthcare issue.

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  • South Carolina Finds Winning Strategy to Reducing Unintended Pregnancies in its Medicaid Population

    Posted March 01, 2016 by Wendy Loveland

    In South Carolina, half of all pregnancies in 2010 were unintended, primarily due to either lack of or failed contraceptives. Within the South Carolina Medicaid population, almost 79 percent of women defined their pregnancy as unintended. This is particularly troubling because births resulting from unintended pregnancies are linked to adverse maternal and child health outcomes and myriad social and economic challenges. To reduce this percentage, South Carolina Medicaid began a policy change in 2012 aimed at increasing the use of immediate postpartum inpatient insertions of long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs).

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  • New CDC Data Shows More Work Needed to Curb Smoking During Pregnancy

    Posted February 19, 2016 by Sabrina Selk

    It has been more than 50 years since the Surgeon General’s report on the adverse health impacts of smoking. However, maternal smoking during pregnancy remains a persistent problem that healthcare and public health professionals have been unable to eliminate.

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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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  • Incorporating Quality Improvement in Public Health

    Posted November 11, 2014 by Lloyd Provost, MS

    From my recent experience at the Infant Mortality Summits, a meeting of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality, it seems that the time is ripe for the widespread growth of quality improvement (QI) strategies in the public health arena.

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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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  • Living the Life of a Sickle Cell Warrior

    Posted September 15, 2014 by Fatima Oyeku

    In support of National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, NICHQ invited Fatima Oyeku, a woman living with sickle cell disease, to share her perspective. “Maybe I'm just being overly optimistic, but I honestly think SCD could be eradicated if more people knew their trait status and have the opportunity to make an informed decision about having children,” she says.

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  • Overcoming the Epidemic of Compassion Fatigue

    Posted June 05, 2014 by Lauren Smith, MD, MPH

    Given the many priorities and important issues that are competing for our collective attention, how do we break through the cacophony of dire statistics and grave warnings about so many “epidemics?"

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