First Lady Tammy Murphy Announces Nurture NJ Campaign, Reinforcing New Jersey’s Commitment to Maternal and Infant Health

Source: NJ Department of Health

Camden NJ 1/23/19: New Jersey Governor First Lady Tammy Murphy has announced the launch of Nurture NJ, a statewide awareness campaign committed to reducing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity and ensuring equitable maternal and infant care among all women and children.

Nurture NJ, meant to serve every mother, child, and family, includes a multi-pronged, multi-agency approach to improve maternal and infant and maternal health. The campaign will include internal collaboration between departments and agencies; an annual Black Maternal and Infant Health Leadership Summit; the First Lady’s Family Festival event series, which targets cities with high rates of infant and maternal mortality; a robust social media strategy to inform and raise awareness; and connecting family members involved in taking care of a child with state, county, and local resources to provide care, support, and relief.

“Despite being the richest and most powerful nation in the world, we continue to struggle with ensuring our mothers and infants have an equal shot at a healthy life. That’s a tremendous problem, particularly in New Jersey,” said Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, who introduced the Healthy MOM Act, federal legislation aimed at addressing maternal mortality by allowing pregnant women to enroll in or change their health insurance plans when they discover they are expecting.

“Too many women have died during and after childbirth because of preventable and treatable conditions,” agrees Senator Joe Vitale, chairman of the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee. “New Jersey ranks 47th with a mortality rate of more than 37 deaths per every 100,000 live births. This is unacceptable and inexcusable for a country — and a state — with advanced health care and medical services.”

New Jersey Department of Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson stated: “Over the past year, we’ve added Medicaid coverage of postpartum long-acting reversible contraception to increase women’s family planning choices, expanded Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation and diabetes prevention to decrease risk factors for low-birthweight infants and improve women’s health, and invested in expanding access to affordable child care to help families succeed. Eliminating disparities in maternal health includes making sure women have access to the health and social services they need to live healthy lives.”

“New Jersey has one of the worst maternal mortality rates in the country, and due to racial bias in our healthcare system, black women are disproportionately affected regardless of their education or socioeconomic status,” says Nadia Hussain, Campaign Director for Maternal Justice Programs at MomsRising. “The result is wholly preventable deaths that leave motherless children, distraught families, and grieving communities in their wake. MomsRising is proud to support the First Lady’s Nurture NJ campaign — it will help by raising awareness of the factors driving these disparities and providing the resources and tools necessary to combat maternal deaths.”

Rep. Watson Coleman added, “The disparities in access, treatment and outcomes that plague maternal and infant mortality and so often result in tragedy for women of color are hurdles that we can overcome. Nurture NJ will help us do it.”