Michigan Wins text4baby State Enrollment Contest by Enrolling Nearly 5,000 Moms in Program

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 19, 2012

LANSING - Since May, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories have participated in the text4baby State Enrollment Contest, a competition to encourage promotion of a free texting service for pregnant women and new moms. Michigan was declared the winner of the large state category after enrolling the largest number of new users as a percentage of eligible moms.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), along with more than 40 public and private Michigan partners, enrolled nearly 5,000 new moms during a five-month period by implementing a multi-faceted outreach strategy, including media, websites and direct service providers. This collaborative effort resulted in a 47 percent increase in the number of women enrolled in the program.

"The Michigan Department of Community Health is grateful to support the text4baby program so that we can reach pregnant and new moms with timely information that will improve the health of moms and infants in our state. Although gains have been made, Michigan's infant mortality rate is still higher than the national average and this campaign is helping us reach this important population," said James K. Haveman, Director of the MDCH.

Governor Rick Snyder identified infant mortality as a major public health issue and a priority that is monitored as part of the Michigan Dashboard. The text4baby program aligns closely with strategies identified in Michigan's Infant Mortality Reduction Plan. Improved pregnancy outcomes when the mother is healthy prior to and in between pregnancies, as well as the prevention of accidental sleep-related infant suffocation are critical to reducing Michigan's infant mortality rate.

Michigan was recognized by Sarah Ingersoll, text4baby Campaign Director, and JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director, Maternity Care Coalition, during the Martha May Eliot Awards Ceremony that took place at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting in San Francisco, Calif. This national contest has engaged states across the country in media and community outreach to help connect moms to the care they need through text4baby.

"I'd like to congratulate the winners of the State Enrollment Contest and express my sincere appreciation to all of the partners around the country who promote text4baby," Ingersoll said.

For more information about text4baby, visit www.text4baby.org. Pregnant and new moms can sign up by texting the word "BABY" to the number 511411, or to get the messages in Spanish, text "BEBE" to 511411. To view Michigan's Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, visit www.michigan.gov/documents/mdch/MichiganIMReductionPlan_393783_7.pdf. 

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How Text4baby Works

Text4baby is the largest mobile health initiative in the nation and is designed to promote maternal and child health. Women who text "BABY" (or "BEBE" for Spanish) to 511411 receive three free text messages a week, timed to their due date or their baby's birth date, through pregnancy and up until the baby's first birthday. The messages, which have been developed in collaboration with government and nonprofit health experts, address topics such as immunization, nutrition, birth defect prevention, and safe sleep. Text4baby also includes features such as appointment reminders, interactive features, fun quizzes, urgent health alerts, and support for accessing resources. The participating wireless phone companies have waived standard messaging fees, so text4baby is free for their customers.

Text4baby is made possible through a public-private partnership. Johnson & Johnson is the founding sponsor. Founding partners include National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition, Voxiva, CTIA - The Wireless Foundation, and Grey Healthcare Group (a WPP company). Learn more about the program at www.text4baby.org.


text4baby national award

MDCH staff members Rosemary Fournier, Amanda Brunger, Jeff Spitzley, and Paulette Dobynes Dunbar take a moment to show the text4baby national award for Michigan.