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Dr. Warren Urges Call to Action

More than 800 maternal and child health leaders, epidemiologists, researchers and parent representatives meeting last month in San Antonio received a resounding call to action from Dr. Michael Warren -- Associate Administrator of HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau -- on common sense measures to save children's lives, and the lives of their mothers.
More than 800 maternal and child health leaders, epidemiologists, researchers and parent representatives meeting last month in San Antonio received a resounding call to action from Dr. Michael Warren -- Associate Administrator of HRSA's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) -- on common sense measures to save children's lives, and the lives of their mothers.

 

"We can look at (the) challenges and feel hopeless," Warren said. "But I hope that instead, you feel on fire."

"Just in the last 36 years alone, we've cut the national infant mortality rate by about half -- from 11.9 in 1981 to 5.8 in 2017," he said at the 2019 Association of Maternal Child Health Programs Conference. "That's noteworthy.  And it's still not enough. Too often we talk solely about rates.  What does 5.8 mean?  That means that in 2017, over 22,000 babies did not live to see their first birthday."

That, he added, is the equivalent death toll of 55 airline crashes per year.

"We have to accelerate our rate of progress and reduce this number now ... We can't wait 52 years for black babies to have the same chance of survival in the first year as white babies. We can't continue to accept that women will die just because they give birth. And we can't wait for children with special health care needs to have a medical home. We must accelerate our progress."

HRSA staff from MCHB, the Bureau of Health Workforce and the Office of Women's Health  were on hand to discuss  their programs in greater detail and spread the word about the agency's plans, priorities and recent challenges -- from bolstering the Maternal and Child Health workforce and response to the Zika virus to  the findings of the Combined 2016-2017 National Surveys of Children's Health HRSA exit disclaimer and efforts to address Intimate Partner Violence (PDF - 428 KB) by training more nurses to recognize and treat traumatized patients.

 

HRSA representatives in San Antonio included (left to right) BHW nurse consultant Adanna Agbo, Folashade Osibanjo of OWH  and MCHB's Dr. Maria Paz Carlos, with Title V officials Heather Pangelinan of Northern Mariana Islands, and Ipu Eliapo and Dr. Anaise Uso of American Samoa. Among the longest running programs in the HRSA funding portfolio, Title V block grants afford services to 56 million pregnant women, infants, children and kids with special needs evey year.
HRSA representatives in San Antonio included (left to right) BHW nurse consultant Adanna Agbo, Folashade Osibanjo of OWH and MCHB's Dr. Maria Paz Carlos, with Title V officials Heather Pangelinan of Northern Mariana Islands, and Ipu Eliapo and Dr. Anaise Uso of American Samoa. Among the longest running programs in the HRSA funding portfolio, Title V block grants afford services to 56 million pregnant women, infants, children and kids with special needs evey year.

 

Dr. Warren and Laura Kavanagh, Deputy Associate Administrator for MCHB, held a series of listening sessions with Title V directors working to improve outcomes for women, children, and families in the 59 states and jurisdictions served through the block grants.

"We can't rely on knowledge alone," Warren said.  "Clearly, whether we think about telling parents to put their babies on their back to sleep, or telling providers to avoid unnecessary C-sections, or telling adolescents to come in yearly for a checkup ... just telling people what they need to do hasn't moved us to where we need to be."

"We must continue to innovate. "

Date Last Reviewed:  April 2019