Arizona Department of Health Services
In 2012, 454 Arizona babies died before their first birthday. There are so many factors that can affect birth outcomes including the health of a woman before she becomes pregnant. These are often referred to as the social determinants of health and include access to care, good nutrition, and a safe place to live, work and play, education, economics and more.
ADHS is working with community members and other stakeholders to improve birth outcomes throughout the state. One step was to host the Improving Birth Outcomes Summit in January. Participants identified four areas to focus on and are developing strategies that will be the foundation for a statewide plan to improve birth outcomes. The four areas identified include the health of women and girls; safe and stable families, prematurity and health disparities. We identified safe sleep and infants born exposed to substances while mom is still pregnant, also referred to as Substance Exposed Newborns as what we would work on under the Safe and Stable Families heading.
During the past few months Arizona has also become a part of a national effort to improve infant mortality called the Collaborative Improvement & Innovation Network (CoIIN) to Reduce Infant Mortality. One of the advantages of this effort is that folks are working across states to learn from each other about best practices and what has or has not worked. The network also identifies benchmarks and tracks progress being made. Earlier CoIIN groups nationally have had some nice successes.
Arizona’s CoIIN team elected to continue with the four areas of focus identified in our summit. With the CoIIN project we will delve more deeply into a few of our topic areas.
Some of the work Arizona has done on prematurity has started to show some effects. In November 2013 ADHS was awarded the March of Dimes Virginia Apgar Prematurity Campaign Leadership Award for reducing prematurity 8.7% between 2009 and 2012. This was the result of a partnership with the Arizona Chapter of the March of Dimes and the Arizona Perinatal Trust. More about this can be found in the Reducing Prematurity section.