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.