February 18, 2014

NICHQ Leading National Initiative to Reduce Infant Mortality

In 2013, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, announced the nation’s first national strategy to reduce infant mortality. A key component of this strategy is the Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality (IM CoIIN). This multiyear national initiative engages federal, state, and local leaders, public and private agencies, professionals and communities to employ quality improvement, innovation and collaborative learning to tackle this persistent wound in the body of our nation’s health.

NICHQ is honored to have been selected by the US Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), part of HHS, to lead an exceptional group of partner organizations as we expand this initiative to the entire nation.

The initiative began in 2012 in 13 states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Six other states joined the effort in 2013: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. These states have begun to address key contributors to infant mortality, such as early elective delivery and the birth of high risk infants in hospitals without the capacity to manage their level of illness.

NICHQ and its partner organizations will build on the work already underway in these states and expand it to the remaining 31 states and eight territories.

At the core of the effort is the concept of a Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN). Widely employed in industry, especially in the technology sector, these are dynamic, technology-enabled, virtual work teams in which people with a shared vision collaborate to achieve a common goal by exchanging ideas, information, and work.

"Our infant mortality rate is a reflection of how well we as a society take care of our most vulnerable citizens," said Michael C. Lu, MD, MPH, associate administrator of MCHB. "We must do better. The IM CoIIN initiative brings together the right people and organizations to enable our country to take a giant leap forward in addressing one of its most significant public health concerns."

“NICHQ is honored to carry this important work forward on behalf of MCHB and with an incredible group of partner organizations,” said Charles Homer, MD, MPH, NICHQ’s president and CEO. “We still have a long way to go to raise the ranking of our nation from the bottom of the world's developed nations and address the disparities in these outcomes. NICHQ has more than a decade of experience mobilizing the best people and ideas into successful strategies, approaches and solutions to improve children’s health, and we are pleased to have the opportunity to apply that experience to this critically important issue.”

On average, 6.15 out of every 1,000 babies born in the US dies before their first birthday, based on 2010 statistics. This compares with an average of 5.0 for all other industrialized nations. Minority populations are disproportionately affected: the risk of infant death for babies born to non-Hispanic black women is more than two times greater than the risk of infant death for non-Hispanic white women.