The Advisory Committee on Infant and Maternal Mortality (ACIMM or Committee) is authorized by section 222 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 217a), as amended. The Committee is governed by provisions of Public Law 92-463, as amended (5 U.S.C. App. 2), which sets forth standards for the formation and use of Advisory Committees.
Objectives and Scope of Activities
ACIMM advises the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on department activities, partnerships, policies, and programs directed at reducing infant mortality, maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity, and improving the health status of infants and women before, during, and after pregnancy. The Committee provides advice on how best to coordinate federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governmental efforts designed to improve infant mortality, related adverse birth outcomes, and maternal health, as well as influence similar efforts in the private and voluntary sectors. The Committee provides guidance and recommendations on the policies, programs, and resources required to address the disparities and inequities in infant mortality, related adverse birth outcomes and maternal health outcomes, including maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity. With its focus on underlying causes of the disparities and inequities seen in birth outcomes for women and infants, the Committee advises the Secretary on the health, social, economic, and environmental factors contributing to the inequities and proposes structural, policy, and/or systems level changes.
Description of Duties
- Advise the Secretary of HHS on department activities, partnerships, policies, and programs directed at reducing infant and maternal mortality, severe maternal morbidity, and improving the health status of infants and women before, during, and after pregnancy.
- Provide the Secretary with advice on how to best coordinate federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial governmental efforts that are designed to improve infant mortality, related adverse birth outcomes, and maternal health, including administration of the Title V Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Block Grant Program, the Healthy Start program and maternal and infant health objectives from the Healthy People 2030 Objectives. Provide advice on how to influence similar efforts in the private and voluntary sectors.
- Review and inform the Secretary of factors contributing to disparities and inequities seen in birth outcomes for women and infants. Provide guidance and recommendations on the policies, programs, resources, and structural/systems level changes required to address the disparities and inequities in infant mortality, related adverse birth outcomes, and maternal health outcomes.
Agency or Official to Whom the Committee Reports
ACIMM will submit recommendations and reports to the Secretary.
Management and support services shall be provided by HRSA's MCH Bureau.
Designated Federal Officer
A full-time or permanent part-time federal employee, appointed in accordance with agency procedures, will serve as the Designated Federal Officer (DFO) (or designee) and ensure that all procedures are within applicable statutory, regulatory, and HHS General Administration Manual directives. The DFO (or designee) approves and prepares all meeting agendas, calls all committee or subcommittee meetings, attends all committee and subcommittee meetings, adjourns any meeting when the DFO (or designee) determines adjournment to be in the public interest, and chairs meetings when directed to do so by the Secretary or his/her designee.
Standing and ad hoc subcommittees composed of members of the full ACIMM committee, may be established, with the approval of the Secretary or designee to perform specific functions within the ACIMM’s jurisdiction. Subcommittees must report back to the parent Advisory Committee and do not provide advice or work products directly to the Department. The Department Committee Management Officer will be notified upon establishment of each subcommittee and will be provided information on its name, membership, function, and estimated frequency of meetings.
- ACIMM shall meet approximately four times a year. Meetings shall be open to the public except as determined otherwise by the Secretary or designee in accordance with the applicable provision of the Government in the Sunshine Act (GISA) (5 U.S.C. 552b(c)), as referenced in the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App. 2). Meetings shall be conducted, and records of the proceedings kept, as required by applicable laws and departmental regulations. Meetings can be in-person or virtually via teleconference, webinar, or other electronic format.
- Notice of all meetings shall be given to the public, and meeting dates are announced in advance. Meeting information (e.g., draft agenda items, potential Committee votes, and logistical information) is published in the Federal Register and posted on the Committee website as soon as details are available.
- Workgroups to address specific issues related to the charge of the committee may be established by the Chair. The workgroups can consist of appointed and ex-officio members of the committee and members of the public with expertise related to the specific issue. Meetings of the workgroups, just like ACIMM meetings, are open to the public except where a closed or partially-closed meeting has been determined proper and consistent with the exemption(s) of the Government in the Sunshine Act, 5 U.S.C. 552b(c), as the basis for closure. The schedule of workgroup meetings will be posted at least 15 calendar days in advance on the committee’s website.
- A quorum is required for the conduct of Committee business. A quorum is a majority (one more than half) of the committee’s appointed membership, excluding ex-officio members.
- Except as noted otherwise in these Bylaws, the Chair will use the most current edition of Roberts Rules of Order as a guide when conducting Committee meetings.
- Agenda: Potential agenda topics for Committee consideration are determined by the Committee Chair, in consultation with the DFO and Committee members. Additionally, the general public, scientific and medical professional organizations, and/or advocacy groups may suggest topics. The DFO (or designee) will notify all Committee members of draft agenda items, including potential votes, in advance of Committee meetings. The general public will be notified about meeting agenda items and any votes through a federal register notice.
- Meeting Transparency: Meetings are open to the public for their entire duration. If, during the course of an open meeting, matters inappropriate for public disclosure arise, the DFO will order such discussions to cease and will schedule a closed meeting in accordance with the applicable procedures outlined below. Meetings will be closed only in limited circumstances and in accordance with applicable law. The DFO will make a written request to the Secretary or designee for approval to fully or partially close a meeting to the public. This request, called a Determination to Close or Partially Close a Meeting, must be cleared by HRSA and Office of General Counsel prior to being submitted to the signing official. The signed Determination remains in the Committee’s official file and is made available for public review on request. All provisions of the FACA and GISA regarding closed sessions will be followed. Where the DFO has determined, in advance, that discussions during a Committee meeting will involve matters about which public disclosure would be harmful to the interests of the government, industry, or others, as described in the GISA, an advance notice of a closed meeting, citing the applicable exemptions of the GISA, will be published in the Federal Register. The notice may announce the closing of all or just part of a meeting.
- Public Comments: Requests to make oral public comments on specific agenda items should be requested in advance when registering to attend the meeting. Members of the public who wish to address the Committee can also contact the DFO, as outlined in the Federal Register, to request public comment time. In the event of a large volume of requests, the time allowed to accommodate everyone may be limited. Written public comments on specific agenda items may be submitted to the Committee as an alternative to making oral comments, but are not read aloud during the meeting. Written comments should be concise in order to facilitate the Committee’s ability to properly review and consider all comments received. All public comments, whether or oral or written, become part of the official record for the meeting.
- Minutes, Transcripts, and Document Records: All documents, reports, or other materials prepared by or for the Committee constitute official government records and are maintained according to FACA and HHS records management policies and procedures. The meeting minutes include a record of the persons present (including the names of Committee members, names of staff, speakers, and the names of members of the public from whom written or oral presentations were made), a summary of the matters discussed, conclusions reached, and voting details, as well as submitted written public comments. The accuracy of all minutes shall be certified to by the Chair of the committee. Minutes and detailed transcripts of open meetings, votes, presentations, reports, and submitted written public comments will be posted on the Committee website within 90 days after the meeting occurs.
- Closed Meetings: When a meeting or portion of the meeting is closed and detailed minutes are not to be made available in their entirety to the public, the committee prepares and makes available to the public upon request, within 14 days of the closed meeting, a summary of its activities and related matters which are informative to the public and consistent with the policy of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) (5 U.S.C. 552), including the FOIA exemptions set out in 5 U.S.C. 552(b). Minutes of closed meetings may be subject to the withholding of matters about which public disclosure would be harmful to the interests of the government, industry, or others, as set out in the exemptions from disclosure under FOIA. Although redacted minutes of closed meetings are available to the public without filing a FOIA request, the public will be required to submit a FOIA request to HRSA for exempt committee records.
- Voting: Voting members are the appointed members. All votes are required to be scheduled in advance of the Committee meeting. A quorum is required for the conduct of Committee business, including voting. In order for a vote to occur, a quorum of members in attendance and not abstaining from voting is required. In the absence of a quorum of members in attendance and not abstaining from voting, a vote cannot take place. An abstention is not a vote. A refusal or a refrain from voting will not be counted to determine the quorum needed for the vote to occur. All voting actions, including abstentions, will be documented and individually identified. Proxy voting is not allowed. Letters/statements from absent voting members presenting a position on a particular matter under consideration by the Committee shall not constitute a vote on the matter, but may be read to the Committee by the Chair or his/her designee, including the DFO. Letters/statements will be appended to the minutes of the Committee.
- All members are expected to announce any conflicts of interest, as described within Federal law (18 U.S.C. §208) prior to any discussion or voting.
Unless renewed by appropriate action, the Committee will terminate two years from the date its charter is filed.
Records of the Committee, formally and informally established subcommittees, or other subgroups of the Committee, shall be handled in accordance with General Records Schedule 6.2, or other approved agency records disposition schedule. These records will be available for public inspection and copying, subject to the FOIA, 5 U.S.C. 552.
Role of Committee Chair and Designated Federal Official
- Committee Chair: The Chair leads all proceedings, duties, and activities of the Committee. The Chair is also the spokesperson. The Chair works with the DFO to establish priorities within the purview of the Committee.
- DFO: In addition to the responsibilities set out in the Charter, the DFO serves as the government's agent for all matters related to the management of the Committee’s activities, and ensures all procedures are within applicable statutory, regulatory, and HHS General Administration Manual directives. The DFO will consult with federal ex-officio members regarding meeting agendas and will inform them of potential votes taken by appointed Committee members in advance of Committee meetings.
Expenses and Reimbursement
Expenses related to the operation of the Committee will be borne by HRSA. Expenditures of any kind must be approved in advance by the DFO and follow all HRSA budget processes and procedures.
These bylaws set out of the procedures and operations of the ACIMM and are meant to be consistent with the ACIMM Charter, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C. App 2), General Services Administration FACA implementing regulations (41 CFR part 102–3), and the HHS Federal Advisory Committee Management Handbook (Revised Edition, November 2013). In the event there is any inconsistency between the bylaws and these authorities and guidance, the authorities and guidance controls.