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Reports on Selected Racial/Ethnic Groups Special Focus: Maternal and Child Health Preface

As the new Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), I have identified three priority areas for CDC: first, strengthening the public health infrastructure--the people and systems needed to protect and promote the nation's health; second, enhancing CDC's national and worldwide leadership in prevention; and third, promoting the health of children. Efforts to address each of these priority areas will depend on effective public health surveillance--the ongoing collection, analysis, and dissemination of data in order to prevent disease and injury. The MMWR Surveillance Summaries are published four times a year with the purpose of disseminating high-priority surveillance data to the public health community. This issue of the Surveillance Summaries focuses on the health of women and children in U.S. minority populations. All three of my priority areas are addressed in this issue--the development of infrastructure in the form of public health surveillance, the monitoring of the effectiveness of prevention programs, and the highlighting of the health of our youth. I am pleased to join with Dr. Antonia Novello, the Surgeon General, in underscoring the importance of the public health community in preventing disease and injury, particularly as they relate to mothers and children in U.S. minority populations. This issue of the Surveillance Summaries reflects our ongoing commitment to prevention. I want sincerely to express my gratitude for the collaboration of our colleagues in state and local health departments and other members of the public health community. I look forward to comments on this and other issues of the MMWR Surveillance Summaries as we collaborate in the future to prevent illness and injury and to promote the public's health. William L. Roper, M.D., M.P.H. Director Centers for Disease Control

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