NJ Department of Health Receives Federal Grant to Fight Maternal Mortality

Source: RLS Media

The New Jersey Department of Health today announced it received a $450,000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grant to support the work of the New Jersey Maternal Mortality Review Committee (NJMMRC). The grant will provide critical technical and financial assistance, including data infrastructure support that will enhance the sustainability and capacity of the NJMMRC.

“This funding will help improve timeliness and accuracy of case review and determination,” said Acting Health Commissioner Judith M. Persichilli. “By enhancing data collection and sharing, we can improve maternal health outcomes by translating findings into better care quality.”

The Department identifies cases of maternal deaths for the NJMMRC from death certificates, live birth or fetal death certificates, hospital discharge data files, coroner reports, and abstracted data from hospital health records.

“The death of a woman due to pregnancy complications is tragic,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Through the work of this committee, we are taking a critical step forward in combatting the maternal and infant health crisis by examining data and determining the economic and social factors that contribute to maternal mortality, so that no family needs to suffer such a profound loss.”

In May 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed P.L.2019, c.75, which formally established the NJMMRC within the state Department of Health, increased the legal authority for the NJMMRC to investigate potential pregnancy-related deaths, and delineated the committee membership to guarantee that it is broadly representative. Under the new law, the expanded NJMMRC, which DOH expects to convene in the fall, will include 24 members representing relevant clinical specialties, maternal and child health consortia, professional organizations, and state agencies.

The work of the NJMMRC will support Nurture NJ, the First Lady’s statewide awareness campaign that is committed to reducing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity and ensuring equitable maternal and infant care among women and children of all races and ethnicities.

“Our maternal mortality rates are unacceptable and when we factor in the racial disparities, it is shocking,” said Senator Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex).

Maternity care is not an option, it is a basic necessity and hopeful, this will help make it a reality for New Jersey mothers.”

“New Jersey is taking its first step to address its alarming maternal mortality rate and the federal government is recognizing the work that we are doing to improve the lives of newborn mothers,” said Senator M. Teresa Ruiz (D-Essex). “By enhancing our ability to collect and process data we will be able to create more effective legislation and better measure the impact of initiatives going forward. Ultimately, this money will help ensure more new moms are given the opportunity to watch their babies learn and grow.”

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