Last week myself and several other Every Woman Southeast leadership team members had the opportunity to attend an Infant Mortality Summit in New Orleans. The meeting was sponsored by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) in collaboration with the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP), the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the March of Dimes. The meeting was specifically for states in the Department of Health and Human Services Regions IV and VI – 16 states that have historically had among the worst rates of infant mortality in the nation. The objectives for the meeting were ambitious and included to understand strategies to improve birth outcomes; create synergy among State Health Officials, MCH Directors, Medicaid and State partners; identify clear strategies and outcomes for each state (completed by state teams); investigate a common strategy for the states in the region; and create a unified message that builds on best practices. From the North Carolina perspective, I thought that the meeting went very well. I feel very hopeful that this may well be the significant push many of us have been waiting for to finally shine the light on infant mortality and move forward with some new energy and innovation. I’ll post the proceedings on our website as soon as they become available.
And on a side note, I must say that I had a chance to taste my first Beignets at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. All I can say is “YUM”. We Southerners may have our challenges but we also have some great food!