Four National Maternal and Child Health Organizations Announce Joint Action Plan for Anti-Racism and Racial Equity
BOSTON – The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) is uniting with three other national maternal and child health organizations in a bold, public commitment to undoing racism as a key driver to improve maternal and infant health outcomes, highlighting irrefutable disparities in morbidity and mortality rates across racial and ethnic groups in the United States.
By signing the Joint Organizational Commitment to Anti-Racism and Racial Equity, the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP), CityMatCH, the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA), and the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) devote their combined organizational strength and influence to educate respective constituencies, jointly advocate for change, hold one another accountable, and create tangible steps to root out racism wherever it exists. The commitment was announced by video during the plenary session of AMCHP’s Annual Conference on May 25, 2021 – exactly one year since the appalling murder of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.
“Our vision of a world where every child achieves their optimal health is blocked by systemic racism at nearly every turn. As an organization, it makes our work to improve the health of all children even more imperative,” said Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP, CEO of NICHQ. “This public commitment will help us stay ‘all in’ as we engage in authentic conversations, lead with humility, and – no matter how uncomfortable – promote a willingness to listen and hold ourselves accountable.”
The driving purpose of this commitment is to act – Black/African American, Native American, and Latinx communities continue to experience health disparities caused by racism, despite an overflowing sea of well-intentioned statements. This joint organizational commitment is rooted in action and includes foundational principles that address the difference between racial equity and health equity and acknowledge the tremendous power and influence of public health institutions to disrupt structural inequities created by racism.
“In our deep organizational work to move along the Equity Systems Continuum from a Savior-Designed System to an Equity-Empowered System, we acknowledge the power of action,” said Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, Executive Project Director and Equity Lead at NICHQ. “The potential is limitless for today’s commitments to improve the systems in which health care and public health professionals work and families receive care.”
- We commit to examining and improving our organizational internal processes.
- We commit our organizations to influence and promote external work.
- We commit our organizations to develop and release communications to support this work.
See the full commitment document for more information, including detailed action plans for each commitment area. Organizations will meet on a regular basis to share measured progress, including best practices related to actions taken and obstacles overcome, and assist each other with ways to address challenges.
If you are “All In” to commit to anti-racism through public health strategies, please contact us at email@example.com to add your organization’s commitment or your individual commitment to help your organization.
About the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ)
NICHQ is a mission-driven nonprofit dedicated to driving dramatic and sustainable improvements in the complex issues facing children’s health. We build and manage effective change strategies with a commitment to racial equity and health equity, aligning partners and engaging stakeholders to achieve better outcomes for children and their families. For over 20 years, NICHQ has led more than 100 initiatives and reached millions of children and families. NICHQ’s unique approach to improving children’s health care systems gives more families access to care and coordinated services and helps all children achieve better outcomes. NICHQ is deeply committed to health equity and ensuring all children reach their optimal health.
About the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP)
The Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs is a national resource, partner and advocate for state public health leaders and others working to improve the health of women, children, youth, and families, including those with special health care needs. AMCHP's members come from the highest levels of state government and include directors of maternal and child health programs, directors of programs for children with special health care needs and other public health leaders who work with and support state maternal and child health programs. Our members directly serve all women and children nationwide, and strive to improve the health of all women, infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health care needs, by administering critical public health education and screening services, and coordinating preventive, primary and specialty care. Our membership also includes academic, advocacy and community-based family health professionals, as well as families themselves.
CityMatCH is a national membership organization of city and county health departments' maternal and child health (MCH) programs and leaders representing urban communities in the United States. CityMatCH's mission is to strengthen public health leaders and organizations to promote equity and improve the health of urban women, families, and communities. CityMatCH is grounded in the philosophy that all children and families deserve to be healthy and achieve their optimal growth and development in the physical, intellectual, social, emotional, and spiritual aspects of their lives. The responsibility for assuring this is shared by each individual and his or her family, the community, and government at the federal, state, and local levels.
About the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA)
NHSA is committed to improving birth outcomes and health disparities that exist within communities of color throughout the United States. As the membership association for the federal Healthy Start programs, NHSA promotes the development of community-based and community-driven maternal and child health (MCH) programs, particularly those addressing the issues of maternal and infant mortality, low birth weight and racial disparities in perinatal outcomes. With over 100 Healthy Start projects situated across the United States, the Association works to expand the capacity of community-driven and community-based MCH programs and maternal and infant mortality preventive health services, thereby ensuring that all families have access to a continuum of affordable quality health care and related services. This range of care extends beyond the welfare of newborns and includes mothers, fathers, and families, thus affecting the entire community.
NICHQ Study on Promoting Infant Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic was Published by Nursing for Women’s Health
BOSTON – Maternity Care Clinicians’ Experiences Promoting Infant Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding During the COVID-19 Pandemic details findings from a study led by NICHQ researchers of maternity care services of 10 U.S. hospitals from April through September 2020. Participants were asked about challenges and opportunities promoting infant safe sleep and breastfeeding during the pandemic. Published: March 10, 2023 | Nursing for Women's Health
NICHQ Announces Staffing Changes in Communications, Development
The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) is pleased to announce the recent promotions of two dedicated members of our Communications and Development teams. Join NICHQ in celebrating our staff and welcoming them to their new roles.
NICHQ Study on Community Promotion of Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Published by BMC Public Health
BOSTON – Community-based approaches to infant safe sleep and breastfeeding promotion: a qualitative study, led by the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ), details opportunities and challenges to improve community-level promotion of infant safe sleep (ISS) and breastfeeding in communities vulnerable to infant safe sleep and breastfeeding disparities. Published: March 7, 2023 | BMC Public Health
NICHQ Names Dr. Zsakeba Henderson Senior Health Advisor
Dr. Zsakeba Henderson will join the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality as a Senior Medical Advisor, where she will advise NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP, to help advance the work of the organization to ensure every child achieves their optimal health.
NICHQ Receives $4M Unrestricted Donation From Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
BOSTON – The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) was awarded a generous $4M donation in unrestricted funds from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott to advance its vision of every child achieving their optimal health. “To give an unrestricted gift is to put an immense amount of trust and responsibility in a nonprofit,” said NICHQ CEO Scott Berns, MD, MPH in the Boston Globe. “I promise we are a worthy cause.”
NICHQ Creates Department of Health Equity Innovation to Address Systemic Health Inequities
BOSTON – The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) recently launched a new Health Equity Innovation Department, led by VP of Equity Innovation Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA, with the goal of accelerating strategies that address systemic health inequities. Some of the ongoing work the Health Equity Innovation Department will support is the Equity Systems Audit Tool, co-created by NICHQ and the Global Infant Safe Sleep (GISS) Center to assess implicit and explicit bias in healthcare systems. The department will also support internal equity engagement and support existing projects to ensure they are effectively incorporating equity. New projects related to health equity will be identified and prioritized within the next few months.