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Department of Health and Human Services
Secretary's Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality
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About the Committee


The Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality (SACIM) was formed in 1991 to advise the Secretary on Department of Health and Human Services’ programs that are directed at reducing infant mortality and improving the health status of pregnant women and infants. The Committee represents a public and private partnership at the highest level to provide guidance and to focus attention on the policies and resources required to address the reduction of infant mortality. The Committee provides advice on how best to coordinate the variety of Federal, State, local and private programs and efforts that are designed to deal with the health and social problems impacting on infant mortality.

Furthermore, SACIM advises the Secretary and the Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration on Department programs, including implementation of the Healthy Start Initiative and relevant objectives from Healthy People 2020: Keeping the Nation Healthy

SACIM meetings are held approximately two times a year in the Washington, DC area and are open to the public. Each meeting includes a period for public comment.

Background on Infant Mortality

At the time of SACIM’s formation in 1991, two-thirds of infant deaths occurred in the first month of life. Although neonatal mortality rates have declined dramatically, the incidence of preterm birth, low birth weight, and very low birth weight have not significantly improved.

Furthermore, racial disparities continue to persist. African Americans have an approximately twofold greater rate of low birth weight, a twofold greater rate of intrauterine growth restriction, and a threefold greater risk of very low birth weight than white Americans. 

Prematurity, low birth weight and intrauterine growth restriction are the leading causes of neonatal mortality. However, the vast majority of infant deaths are from preventable causes such as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, injuries, and infections. Although the genetics and the biology of sleep position are unknown, it is clear from population-based studies that putting babies to sleep on their backs has a tremendous benefit in reducing the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Despite this information, African Americans and Native Americans have a two- to threefold greater risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome than their white counterparts.

SACIM is dedicated to eliminating health disparities and other environmental, social, and economic factors that that contribute to infant mortality through continuous research and public health efforts. 

Authorizing Legislation
Published Reports

Final Recommendations for a National Strategy to Reduce Infant Mortality (PDF - 79 pages)

Low Birth Weight Report and Recommendations (PDF - 39 pages)

Promoting the Health of Newborns and Mothers Through Postpartum Services (PDF - 163 pages)

Recommendations on the Future of the Healthy Start Initiative (PDF - 19 pages)

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