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Public Health Approaches to Reducing U.S. Infant Mortality

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This session of Grand Rounds explored public health approaches to reducing U.S. infant mortality. This session also coincided with the 20th anniversary of Child Health Month inaugurated by the American Academy of Pediatrics. Both nationally and globally, infant mortality is a key measure of population health. The infant mortality rate, the rate at which babies less than one year of age die, has continued to steadily decline in the US over the past several decades; most recent national data from 2010 shows 6.15 deaths per 1,000 live births. Despite overall progress, racial disparities in infant mortality persist and preventable infant deaths continue to occur. Public health agencies including CDC/ATSDR, health care providers, and communities of all ethnic groups must partner to further reduce the infant mortality rate in the United States. This joint approach should address the social, behavioral, and health risk factors that affect birth outcomes.

This powerful session of Grand Rounds highlighted accomplishments and explored public health, clinical, and policy strategies to improve birth outcomes, with special consideration of high risk individuals, families, and communities.

Beyond the Data
Dr. John Iskander and Dr. Wanda Barfield discuss important new updates in infant mortality reduction. Since the initial presentation of “Public Health Approaches to Reducing U.S. Infant Mortality” in 2012:
  • Overall rates of infant deaths have continued to decline.
  • Risk factors for mortality such as preterm birth have been reduced.
  • CDC has launched the tips from former smokers campaign focusing on the need to stop smoking during pregnancy.
  • Large collaborative initiatives were started to address geographic disparities and improve quality of care to pregnant women.
Presented By
CAPT Wanda D. Barfield, MD, MPH, FAAP
Director, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
Denise D'Angelo, MPH
Health Scientist, Applied Sciences Branch, Division of Reproductive Health
National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, CDC
Rachel Y. Moon, MD, FAAP
Professor of Pediatrics
George Washington Unversity School of Medicine and Health Sciences
Michael C. Lu, MD, MS, MPH
Associate Administrator, Maternal and Child Health Bureau
Health Resources and Services Administration
Facilitated By
Tanja Popovic, MD, PhD
Scientific Director
John Iskander, MD, MPH
Deputy Scientific Director
Susan Laird, MSN, RN
Communications Director
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Page last reviewed: February 28, 2018
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