The Community Service Council’s Corrina Jackson, Program Director for Healthy Start, and Dr. Su Phipps, Program Director for Healthy Women, Healthy Futures – Oklahoma, were among a select group of maternal child heath professionals invited to attend the National Institute of Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) Oklahoma Site Visit to explore state-level strategies to improve preterm births (PTB) and other poor maternal health and birth outcomes.
The site visit was held on August 6 and 7 in Oklahoma City at the Oklahoma Hospital Association as part of a recent project launched by NICHQ to identify state-level systems, policies, structures and other contextual factors that help reduce PTB rates. National representatives sought feedback and input from the group to inform national efforts in identifying best practices and determining contextual factors that contribute to enabling or hindering success in reducing PTB rates.
The multi-agency group discussed Oklahoma’s increasing premature births and other maternal child health issues, the impact of social determinants of health on birth outcomes and maternal health, systems of care, bright spots in the state, and addressing emerging maternal child health issues.
In the U.S., infant mortality rates declined to an all-time low in 2017 to 5.79 per 1,000 live births. However preterm births, one of the leading causes of infant mortality, have been increasing in recent years. The goal of the NICHQ project is to identify strategies that both lead to better outcomes for mothers and babies and can impact disparities in PTB rates. The project is funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.