The NGA Center for Best Practices (NGA Center) has worked with states to help them improve health outcomes for pregnant women, mothers and children for decades. The NGA Center offers a variety of opportunities for states to collaborate with one another and to work closely with leading experts on a range of maternal and child health issues. The division also provides targeted technical assistance to states on maternal and child health issues of importance to governors’ offices as they arise. Finally, the NGA Center has served as a longstanding resource for state-level maternal and child health data on issues such as coverage, eligibility, access and quality through its Maternal and Child Health Update (MCH Update), which has been issued regularly since 1990.

The NGA Center, in collaboration with national partners, is working with states through a learning collaborative focused on improving quality and access to care in maternal and child health. The project centers on three core focus areas: improving continuity of coverage and care for pregnant women and children, improving systems of care of children and youth with special health care needs and implementing the Bright Futures guidelines of care for all children.

In 2013 - 2014, 13 states participated in three rounds of the NGA Center’s Learning Network on Improving Birth Outcomes. Over the course of the projects, the NGA Center helped states to convene collaborative partners to coordinate and capitalize on their existing activities for improved sustainability and success over the longer term. States created infant mortality reduction plans, or further developed existing plans, focused on specific topics such as substance use during pregnancy and integrated their Learning Network efforts with other projects such as the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network to Reduce Infant Mortality. The 13 states that participated were: Alabama, Arizona, Connecticut, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Virginia and West Virginia.

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