MDHHS announces new plan to improve health of infants and mothers

Published: Sep. 5, 2019 at 12:02 PM EDT
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The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), in partnership with the Maternal Infant Strategy Group (MISG), is announcing the release of the 2020-2023 Mother Infant Health and Equity Improvement Plan.

The improvement plan includes comprehensive statewide strategies that will align stakeholders around key goals to improve the health of mothers and babies. The plan was developed through public comment, continued engagement and discussion with maternal infant health stakeholders and advisement of the MISG.

“It’s so important that our state continues to move forward in helping new moms and babies lead healthy lives,” said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. “Right now, the U.S. has the highest maternal death rate in the developed world, and Detroit’s maternal death rate is three times the national average. That’s why this improvement plan is so important. When we work together to acknowledge and address health disparities, we can make sure expecting moms have the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy no matter where they live.”

The overall vision of the improvement plan is: Zero Preventable Deaths. Zero Health Disparities. To achieve this, the improvement plan focuses on six primary priorities:

• Health equity.

• Healthy girls, women and mothers.

• Optimal birth spacing.

• Full-term, healthy weight babies.

• Infants safely sleeping.

• Mental, emotional and behavioral well-being.

“While many people are doing great work to improve the lives of mothers, infants and families, the data shows there is much more we need to do,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, MDHHS chief medical executive and chief deputy director for health. “The improvement plan will align partners, track metrics and make sure we are engaging a variety of community partners in this important work.”

Michigan has a higher infant mortality rate than the national rate, with 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births. There are also significant disparities that exist across race, with black infants 2.8 times more likely to die before their first birthday than white infants. The plan emphasizes addressing both clinical and non-clinical factors, such as housing, racial biases, access to family planning and promoting safe sleep practices.

The Mother Infant Health and Equity Improvement Plan, along with additional information, is available at