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Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan (MIHEIP)

Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan logo with slogan of Together, Saving LIves.


In September 2019, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) announced the release of the 2020-2023, Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan (MIHEIP).

The MIHEIP Integrates interventions across the maternal-infant dyad promoting a holistic approach to care that encompasses health and wellbeing for both mom and baby, building off years of successful work across Michigan, and addressing the gaps which have persistently left behind the most vulnerable groups of women and infants across our state.

During the last few years, many successes have improved the lives of mothers, infants and families in Michigan. Maternal infant health stakeholders work on expansive and diverse efforts statewide. The Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan: Yearly Highlights are intended to emphasize successes and acknowledge the invaluable commitment of stakeholders: 

Year One Highlights - 2020  │  Year Two Highlights - 2021  │  Year Three Highlights – 2022

Zero preventable deaths. Zero health disparities.

While improvements have been realized, persistent challenges remain; mothers and babies are still dying from preventable causes. 80-90 women die each year in Michigan during pregnancy, birth, or within one year of pregnancy.

Disparities that show up in every facet of maternal and infant health are rooted in long standing systemic inequities, often based on race. Women of color are more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women, and infants born to women of color are more likely to die before they reach their first birthday. (Source: MDHHS, Division for Vital Records and Health Statistics, 2010-2018)

All Michigan mothers, infants and families have the right to optimal health, adequate access to appropriate and timely care, and the opportunity to thrive. Together we can achieve the vision of Zero preventable deaths and Zero health disparities.

Six Primary Priorities of the MIHEIP

The Six Primary Priorities of the MIHEIP have guided the work of Michigan's stakeholders and MDHHS over the last several years, further aligning work statewide. Michigan has implemented strategies to address the social determinants of health and equity, worked to build strong partnerships statewide and, together with partners, has improved maternal and infant outcomes.

Michigan continues to prioritize equity, collaborating with communities to overcome barriers, build trust, and continue to expand on the successful work across the Great Lakes. MDHHS is collaborating with maternal infant health stakeholders such as the Regional Perinatal Quality Collaboratives (RPQCs), Birth Detroit, Focus: HOPE, STRONG Beginnings, Michigan Maternal Mortality Surveillance (MMMS), Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR), Women, Infants & Children (WIC), Michigan Alliance for Innovation in Maternal Health (MI AIM), and the Obstetrics Initiative (OBI) to work towards Zero health disparities. 

Governor Gretchen Whitmer prioritized health equity and elevated Black voices across Michigan.

  • Requiring all health care professionals to receive training to recognize and mitigate implicit bias. (Executive Directive 2020-7)
  • Recognized and addressed racism as a public health crisis, making health equity a major goal for MDHHS, and required implicit bias training for all State of Michigan employees. (Executive Directive 2020-9)
  • Created the Black Leadership Advisory Council to elevate Michigan's Black leaders and representatives. (Executive Order 2020-163)
  • Michigan extended Medicaid postpartum coverage for moms and babies as part of the Governor’s Healthy Moms, Healthy Babies initiative.

Even through the most challenging of times Michigan has expanded and strengthened Home Visiting, telehealth services and prenatal care to virtually support moms and families, and ensure all girls, women and mothers have the opportunity to achieve optimal health.  

Michigan renewed its commitment to providing access to family planning and contraceptive services as a part of comprehensive health care for women. Through Title X, services were adapted to increase access and new locations were added.

Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding initiatives partnered to align trainings, decrease barriers, improve support, and disseminate safe sleep messaging. Breastfeeding support groups adapted to provided services to families. The Safe Sleep program collaborated to launch the Infant Safe Sleep Certification Program for EMS Agencies and Fire Departments, adding first responders to the long list of professionals trained to prevent sleep-related infant deaths. 

Innovation has driven change and improvements in mental, emotional, and behavioral well-being. Partners in the Great Lakes State increased access to behavioral healthcare, expanded virtual services and added resources for moms and babies to existing initiatives. At the same time, Michigan prioritized the implementation and expansion of universal screening for Substance Use Disorder (SUD), utilizing innovative methods such as telehealth and electronic screening.