Maternal & Child Health Newsletter, Iss. 27
News from NIHCM
Upcoming webinar - The Health of Children in Foster Care: Making Improvements through Medicaid and the Law - On April 16, 2013 from 1:00pm -2:30pm EDT, NIHCM Foundation will host a webinar with the American Bar Association Center on Children and the Law on the role of the U.S. health care and legal systems in supporting the health of children and youth in foster care.
Kathryn Santoro, NIHCM Foundation’s Director of Policy and Development, presented research on health plan efforts to improve screening and treatment of maternal depression at the California Maternal Mental Health Collaborative forum “Emerging Considerations in Maternal Mental Health” on January 24, 2013.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Innovations Exchange interviewed Kathryn Santoro about health plan efforts to decrease health disparities among children. Ms. Santoro also discussed the potential impact of the Affordable Care Act on the inequity of child health outcomes.
Promising Practices in MCH
NIHCM Foundation recently published a new fact sheet in the Promising Practices in Maternal and Child Health series. “Bringing the Blue Zones to Iowa – Collaborating to Improve Statewide Health” describes the partnership between Wellmark Inc., Healthways and Blue Zones to bring the Blue Zones Project to Iowa. One of the goals of this initiative is to move Iowa’s rank on the Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI) from 16 to 1 by 2016. Since the release of the fact sheet, Iowa has jumped to the #9 spot on the WBI, with almost 20 percent of Iowans now living in a Blue Zones Project demonstration community.
We continue to update our Promising Practices in Maternal & Child Health searchable database, a collection of emerging and promising health plan programs and collaborations. This database allows you to learn more about the MCH activities and priorities of health plans and foundations from across the country with a goal of facilitating program replication and fostering new collaborations between health plans and other MCH stakeholders, especially those working in communities and in the public sector.
Health Plan Initiatives to Improve MCH
Save the date for Highmark Foundation’s conference “No Time to Weight: Best Practices in Childhood Obesity Prevention” on September 25, 2013 in Pittsburgh. Participants will learn about evidence-based programs and will have opportunities to network with other educators, health care professionals, funders, and business, community and government leaders. Additional details will be announced on the Foundation's website at the end of April.
A study of the MATCH curriculum, a school-based wellness intervention for middle school students, has been published in the North Carolina Medical Journal. The authors note that no other studies of similar school-based interventions have shown such “substantial and sustained improvements” in student BMI as the MATCH pilot. A grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) Foundation helped to fund the use of the MATCH curriculum in rural eastern North Carolina.
BCBSNC Foundation recently awarded $100,000 in Healthy Active Communities grants to 21 organizations for equipment to increase physical activity. Grantees, chosen with an emphasis on rural areas and vulnerable populations, include Durham Public Schools, to build a multi-use trail system at its Hub Farm; and Ashville Design Center, a non-profit dedicated to creative, community-based design, to work with families in public housing to build a safe and accessible playground.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma recently accepted submissions to the Be Smart Don’t Start Anti-Tobacco Contest. The program equips elementary school teachers with a 30-minute interactive lesson on tobacco and then encourages classes to transform what they’ve learned into creative visual, audio or video pieces. Contest entrants compete for prizes and for the opportunity to have their work aired on television as part of a PSA. The winners will be announced in the spring.
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas partnered with the Austin Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation to present the third annual Type1Now Conference earlier this month. This educational event provided information on the latest Type 1 research, basic and advanced care, and emotional well-being, with an equal focus on offering inspiration for living well with Type 1.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA) is partnering with national non-profit Playworks to keep more than 14,000 Boston public school children moving at recess using “recess coaches.” Some of these coaches are BCBSMA volunteers who are given paid time off to volunteer in the community through the company’s BlueCrew program, profiled in a Promising Practices in MCH fact sheet. Playworks students logged more than 100,000 miles in the first two weeks of the challenge, and the BCBSMA volunteer coaches doubled their personal fitness goals.
WellPoint Foundation has granted $150,000 to the U.S. Association of Blind Athletes to fund a second year of the National Fitness Challenge. Roughly 70 percent of youth who are blind or visually impaired do not participate in any physical education curriculum. The National Fitness Challenge allows agencies to provide that missing activity to over 700 teenagers nationwide, encouraging them to pursue achievable fitness goals.
The Maternal and Child Health Bureau will host a webinar, “Linked by Life: The Case for Collaboration of MCH and Chronic Disease to Improve Infant and Women’s Health,” on April 2, 2013 from 3:00-4:30 PM. Speakers will discuss the relationship between chronic disease prevention and MCH efforts and highlight partnerships and funding opportunities. Registration is currently open.
The Association for State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) has released a new issue brief, “Disparities and Inequities in Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes.” The brief provides an overview of the issue of racial and ethnic disparities in MCH outcomes, with specific discussions of the economic impact of disparities, infant mortality, gestational diabetes and maternal depression. It also highlights several promising state programs to address these inequities.
The Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs (AMCHP) recently hosted a webinar entitled “Opportunities and Strategies for Improving Preconception Health Through Health Reform.” The event covered the importance of preconception health and how health reform can affect coverage, and it shared successes, challenges and lessons from state-level preconception health activities. A recording of the event is now available on AMCHP’s YouTube channel.
Grantmakers in Health (GIH) recently partnered with AMCHP to present a webinar on opportunities for foundations to support initiatives to improve birth outcomes. “Harnessing National Efforts to Improve Birth Outcomes and Reduce Infant Mortality” featured several national initiatives, including the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Infant Mortality Collaborative and ASTHO’s Healthy Babies Initiative. Presentations from the event are available for download from the GIH website.
GIH has also released a new issue brief entitled “Smart Start: Health Weight in Early Childhood.” This brief, a summary of key points from an October 2012 GIH meeting, spotlights promising early childhood obesity prevention strategies currently funded by foundations, and it draws out additional opportunities for philanthropic investment on this issue.
CityMatCH has launched a new Institute for Equity in Birth Outcomes with a goal of bringing scientific focus to the persistent inequities in birth outcomes. The Institute represents a high-visibility national movement of urban health departments collaborating on training, development of data-driven community initiatives and dissemination of results.
Children’s Safety Network (CSN) recently updated its state-specific injury fact sheets. These fact sheets break down the causes and incidence of injury death and hospitalization by age group, and they offer quick-reference data on injury-related performance measures and health indicators, with particular focus on race, gender, urban and rural disparities.
CSN has also compiled a resource guide on firearm safety and violence prevention intended to guide state maternal and child health and injury and violence prevention programs to evidence-based interventions, data, state legislation and relevant organizations. In addition, CSN recently released new data on the costs of firearm violence.
The American Bar Association (ABA) AIDS Coordinating Committee hosted a teleconference in February as part of a bi-monthly conference series on women and HIV/AIDS. An audio recording of the event, “The Intersection of Domestic Violence and HIV: Practice Tips and Information,” is now available on the ABA website. Future events in this series cover HIV criminalization, immigration, trafficking, national HIV strategy and the Affordable Care Act.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently launched a new preconception health campaign called Show Your Love, intended to increase the number of women who plan their pregnancies and engage in healthy behaviors before they become pregnant. Preconception health was the focus of a May 2012 NIHCM Foundation issue brief highlighting health plan efforts to improve the health of women in their childbearing years.