Advocating for Maternal and Child Health – Why It’s Essential - Nemours Blog


Advocating for Maternal and Child Health – Why It’s Essential

Advocating for Maternal and Child Health – Why It’s Essential

About 700 mothers die each year from pregnancy-related causes in this country, with about 60% of these deaths considered to be preventable. Black mothers are 3-4x more likely to die from pregnancy-related complications than White women, and are at higher risk of giving birth to pre-term babies. Black babies are 2x more likely to die as infants than White babies.

The Nemours National Office is advocating on Capitol Hill to address these disparities to help give all moms and babies the opportunity to be healthy. Along with March of Dimes (MOD), Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, we are partnering on the Hot Topics in Neonatology: 2021 Cindy Pellegrini Maternal & Child Health Advocacy Event.

This virtual event honors Cindy Pellegrini who passed away in 2019, leaving behind a legacy as a tireless advocate for maternal and child health. It brings together health care professionals and advocates to meet virtually with congressional offices to ask for their support for two critical maternal health bills, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act.

Advocating for Legislation to Improve Maternal and Child Health Outcomes

The Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021 and the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act propose bold policies that together would comprehensively address the maternal health crisis. The “Momnibus” would address a variety of issues contributing to maternal health such as housing, transportation, nutrition and child care. Additionally, the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Act would improve maternal health by investing in quality improvement, provider training and data collection.

Why Providers are Advocating for Maternal and Child Health:

“This is an amazing opportunity to share some of the realities our families experience daily, as they navigate our healthcare system. As a front-line pediatric provider, I see the needs of our vulnerable patients and how some of the available programs support families yet others fall short of their intended goal.  By sharing stories, I can paint a vivid picture for our representatives as to what some of the biggest challenges are in accessing adequate care for children. At Nemours we believe our role is not just to provide excellent medical care but to go “Well Beyond Medicine.” To me, this means addressing the social determinants of care that impacts long term health outcomes. Advocacy is an opportunity for me to stretch beyond my day-to-day work and voice my passion to improve the quality of life for my patients.”

-Dr. Jane Ierardi, MD, Chief Partnership Officer for Florida, Interim Chief of Neonatology, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Florida

“As pediatricians we have the privilege to advocate for our most vulnerable patients and families. We see firsthand how social determinants of health affect maternal and child health and can provide a unique lens to legislative representatives. It is our duty as pediatricians to share their stories, to advocate for change, and to work together to build brighter futures for our children.”

– Dr. Dana Neumann, DO, Chief Pediatric Resident, Thomas Jefferson University, Nemours Children’s Hospital, Delaware

Get Involved in Future Advocacy with Nemours

In 2019, Nemours, MOD and CHOP co-sponsored our first Cindy Pellegrini Maternal & Child Health Advocacy Event. You can check out a video with highlights from our day here. If you are interested in learning more about potential federal advocacy opportunities with the Nemours National Office, please reach out to us at

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