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Second annual Maternal Infant Health Summit to align public and private organization priorities to decrease mother, infant mortality Mother Infant Health Equity and Improvement Plan to be unveiled by Governor Whitmer


CONTACT: Lynn Sutfin, 517-241-2112

LANSING, Mich. – To ensure pregnant women and new mothers in Michigan stay healthy to keep their babies healthy, more than 500 public and private health professionals including doctors, nurses, home visitors and community health workers will learn about and share best practices from across the country at the second annual Maternal Infant Health Statewide Conference March 12-13.

Hosted at the Kellogg Center by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), Maternal Infant Strategy Group and the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health, this statewide conference will provide educational opportunities to keep professionals and families abreast of the latest developments in the field.

“In 2017, more than 760 Michigan babies did not live to their first birthday, and between 80 and 90 women die each year in our state during pregnancy, at delivery or within a year after the end of their pregnancy,” said Robert Gordon, MDHHS director. “By bringing together stakeholders from the public and private sectors to learn from one another, we can improve health outcomes for mothers and infants and put an end to preventable deaths in our state.”

Michigan’s 2017 infant mortality rate is 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births, an increase from 2016’s rate of 6.4 deaths per 1,000 live births. This is higher than the national average of 5.9 deaths per 1,000 live births recorded in 2016. From 2011-2015, Michigan’s pregnancy-related mortality rate was 11.6 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. A recent review by the Michigan Maternal Mortality Surveillance Committee found that, of the pregnancy-related deaths, 44 percent were determined to be preventable. Mother’s and infants of color die at two – three times the rate of non-Hispanic white woman.

A key focal point of the Summit is the announcement of the 2019 Mother Infant Health Equity and Improvement Plan which will be unveiled by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. It was developed by MDHHS under the guidance of the Maternal Infant Strategy Group and in collaboration with a broad range of maternal and infant health stakeholders and families. With a vision of “Zero preventable deaths. Zero health disparities,” the plan promotes health equity as a priority throughout its initiatives by identifying marginalized populations and addressing persistent health disparities.

A critical intervention to help prevent maternal mortality included in the plan is Michigan Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health (MI AIM) safety bundles. Safety bundles help fully equip hospitals with actionable protocols, necessary equipment, staff education and drills to prevent and adequately treat severe maternal events. MI AIM designated hospitals will be recognized at during the Summit for implementing safety bundles at their facilities.

Summit sessions will be led by national, state and local subject matter experts. They will focus on three overarching themes: Eliminating Maternal Mortality; Strategies to Reduce Preterm Birth; and Substance Use, Mental Health and Trauma. In addition, the following plenary sessions will focus on collaborative efforts to improve health outcomes:

  • Telling Stories: Truth, Lies and the Narratives We Build – Dr. Herman Gray, chair, Wayne State University Department of Pediatrics; Cheryl Larry-Osman, RN, prenatal clinical specialist labor and delivery, high risk antepartum, postpartum, Henry Ford Hospital; and Dr. Melinda Johnson, VP, department chief, Women’s Health Spectrum Health Medical Group.

  • Michigan Is Creating the Blueprint for Zero Preventable Deaths and Zero Health Disparities – Dr. Herman Gray, chair, Wayne State University Department of Pediatrics.

  • Raising Soleil – Wanda Irving, MPA.

  • Highlighting Place as a Key Lens Through Which to See Parents and Newborns – Dr. Andrew Beck, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

For more information about the Summit and the Improvement Plan, visit

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