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Maternal Infant Health Action Committees

As an important next step in achieving the Mother Infant Health and Equity Improvement Plan (MIHEIP) strategic vision of zero preventable deaths and zero health disparities, we are convening Action Committees aligned with the priorities of the MIHEIP.

The Action Committees will convene content experts aimed at impacting system change by informing policy and putting proven practices into action. By working together to identify priority related recommendations, strategies, and plans to be implemented throughout Michigan, we will improve the health of mothers, infants, and families. 


  • Maternal Infant Health, Health Equity Action Committee

    Enhancing access to the social determinants of health, identifying and actionably addressing systemic inequities, and distributing resources equitably, will help move Michigan residents toward optimal health and toward achieving the MIHEIP strategic vision of zero preventable deaths and zero health disparities. This Action Committee has the potential to create powerful and impactful change through assuring data-driven interventions are aimed at addressing disparities and working to remove obstacles to health.

    Committee Co-Chairs: 
    Dr. Renée Branch Canady, PhD, MPA - Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI)
    Kara Hamilton-McGraw, MPA - Director of Maternal Child Health and Government Affairs for the March of Dimes in Michigan.

    MDHHS Assigned Staff:
    Heather Boyd, MPH - Maternal Infant Vitality Specialist, Division of Maternal and Infant Health

  • Maternal Infant Health, Safe Sleep Action Committee

    Through knowledge of infant safe sleep practice, open discussions about risk reduction, and guaranteeing every infant has a safe place to sleep, sleep-related deaths can be prevented. This Committee will work to engage and collaborate with families and caregivers, community organizations, and other entities to significantly impact the infant mortality rate in Michigan by employing innovative initiatives to reduce the number of sleep-related deaths.

    Committee Co-Chairs:
    Lisa Peacock, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC 
    Cheryl Larry-Osman, MS, RN, CNM, CNS - Perinatal Clinical Nurse Specialist, Henry Ford Hospital

    MDHHS Assigned Staff:
    Colleen Nelson, LMSW - Infant Safe Sleep Program Coordinator, Division of Maternal & Infant Health
    Nick Drzal, MPH - Infant Health Unit Manager, Division of Maternal & Infant Health

  • Healthy Girls, Women & Mothers/Mental, Emotional & Behavioral Well-Being
    Action Committee

    The health of girls and women prior to, during, and after pregnancy is critically important. Efforts must be made to ensure health is integrated into all facets of policy and decision making, work is needed to increase the implementation of community-based preventive services and linkage with clinical care, as well as ensuring a focus on prevention within healthcare systems and in communities.

    Maternal mental and behavioral health is another vitally important facet of overall health. It is well known that many women and children experience Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), which can increase their risk for substance use, depression, anxiety, and other long-term health complications. Mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being are dependent upon many considerations including having healthy relationships, feeling connected to a community, and having the ability to access mental and behavioral services when needed.

    This Action Committee will help reduce the risk of adverse outcomes for both moms and babies by identifying complex needs of communities and in turn promoting new and innovative solutions.

    Committee Co-Chairs:
    Bethany Brown, DNP, CNM, WHNP, EFM-C, MSN, RN - Assistant Director of Nursing at Central Michigan University 
    Debra Pinals, MD - MDHHS Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs, Director of the Program in Psychiatry, Law, & Ethics and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School

    MDHHS Assigned Staff:
    Dan Thompson, MA - Manager, Perinatal and Infant Health Section, Division of Maternal & Infant Health
    Heather Rosales, LMSW, CAADC - WSS Coordinator, Office of Recovery Oriented Systems of Care
    Tiffany Kostelec, MA - Manager, Home Visiting Unit, Division of Child & Adolescent Health

  • Optimal Birth Spacing & Full Term, Healthy Weight Babies
    Action Committee

    Ensuring the health of mothers and babies requires preparation well before pregnancies begin. It is imperative that the preconception and inter-conception periods be supported through chronic disease prevention, identification of behavioral health needs and linkage to clinical and community resources. Achieving full term and healthy weight babies can be achieved through promotion of inclusive medical screening, cervical length screening and treatment, reducing the rate of primary cesarean section, and addressing behaviors, such as smoking and substance use disorder, that may result in preterm and/or low birth weight babies. Planning for pregnancy is another critical piece in ensuring healthy outcomes for mothers and their babies. Spacing pregnancies at least eighteen months apart has been proven to improve the health and well-being of both mothers and their infants. Increasing use and access of pre/inter-conception care, as well as assuring access to family planning services, can result in ample birth spacing.

    This Action Committee will work to improve health for moms and babies by equipping women and their partners with knowledge and access to comprehensive, high-quality family planning resources and services, while working to increase access, coordination and efficacy of services for pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant. 

    Committee Co-Chairs:
    Dr. Herman Gray, MD, MBA. - Chair, Wayne State University Department of Pediatrics
    Dr. Lisa Kane-Low, PhD, MS, CNM, FAAN, FACNM - Associate Dean Practice and Professional Graduate Programs, University of Michigan; Professor, School of Nursing, Women’s Studies, Dept. Obstetrics and Gynecology

    MDHHS Assigned Staff:
    Audra Brummel, MPH, CHES - Infant Health Consultant, Division of Maternal and Infant Health
    Deanna Charest, MPH - Manager, Women and Maternal Health Section, Division of Maternal and Infant Health
    Jessica Hamel, MA - Family Planning Consultant, Division of Maternal and Infant Health

  • Maternal Infant Health Policy & Legislation Action Committee

    This Committee works to empower parents, communities, and professionals to join together and use their voices to educate and inform policymakers who, in turn, make laws, write regulations, and implement policies affecting the health of mothers, infants, and families.

    Committee Co-Chairs:
    Amy Zaagman, MPA - Executive Director, Michigan Council for Maternal and Child Health
    Tatiana Omolo, MPP, MSW -  Government & Policy Director, Mothering Justice

    MDHHS Assigned Staff:
    Emily Goerge, MPH, MSN, RN - Perinatal Nurse Coordinator, Division of Maternal and Infant Health
    Heather Boyd, MPH - Maternal Infant Vitality Specialist, Division of Maternal and Infant Health
    Quess Derman, MSW - Public Health Consultant, Division of Maternal and Infant Health