January 20, 2015

National Movement to Reduce Infant Mortality Sets Top Six Strategies; NICHQ Continues Leadership Role

Safe sleep, smoking cessation, preterm births and social inequity among the priorities

Black baby in the NICU at the hospitalThe six strategic focus areas of the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN) were announced today, along with a shift to a national approach of one IM CoIIN encompassing all regions of the United States. NICHQ (National Institute for Children’s Health Quality) remains the lead quality improvement and technical assistance organization charged with supporting the IM CoIIN.

IM CoIIN is a national, multiyear movement engaging federal, state and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals and communities to employ quality improvement, innovation and collaborative learning to reduce the U.S. infant mortality rate and to improve birth outcomes.

“A national approach rather than multiple, separate IM CoIIN strategy teams in different regions provides states a chance to develop truly national collaboration and to learn from colleagues across the country,” says Lauren Smith, MD, MPH, executive project director at NICHQ. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to support the states in effectively tackling the complex problem of infant mortality. With the strategies set, we’re excited to forge ahead with all of our partners to improve birth outcomes.”

The six state-driven strategic areas that will be the focus of the IM CoIIN are:

  • Improve safe sleep practices
  • Reduce smoking before, during and/or after pregnancy
  • Pre/Interconception Care: Promote optimal women’s health before, after and in between pregnancies, during postpartum visits and adolescent well visits
  • Social Determinants of Health: Incorporate evidence-based policies/programs and place-based strategies to improve social determinants of health and equity in birth outcomes
  • Prevention of Preterm and Early Term Births
  • Risk-appropriate Perinatal Care: Increase the delivery of higher risk infants and mothers at appropriate level facility

Each state has selected a subset of the six national strategies to work on collaboratively with other states through a strategy-focused learning network. Over the next 12 to 18 months, teams from every U.S. state, territory and jurisdiction will join together to coordinate and collaborate in these learning networks to ensure that every child reaches his or her first birthday and beyond. Through virtual and in-person meetings, and with the help of content experts and improvement advisors, state teams will use quality improvement methods to identify and implement innovative practices in reducing infant mortality and eliminating health disparities. NICHQ and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), along with partners including AMCHP, ASTHO and the March of Dimes, will lead the learning networks and provide the data reporting infrastructure, online community and expert technical assistance needed to support their efforts.

“We’re excited that this movement is now on a national scale, and thank NICHQ for leading the expansion and working with our IM CoIIN partners to support one national integrated IM CoIIN to reduce infant mortality,” says Michael Lu, MD, MPH, associate administrator at MCHB.

To learn more about the IM CoIIN, visit www.nichq.org/coiin.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under Grant # UF3MC26524 Providing Support for the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality for $2,918,909 (for this year 9/30/15 – 9/29/15). This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.


NICHQ is an independent, nonprofit organization working for nearly two decades to improve children’s health. We help organizations and professionals who share this mission make breakthrough improvements so children and families live healthier lives. For more information about NICHQ, go to www.NICHQ.org.

If you’d like more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please call or email Cindy Hutter at chutter@nichq.org or 617-391-2757.