Mother kissing her Newborn

Maternal-Child Health

Health care delivery for maternal-child populations represents a key opportunity for improvement in Missouri.

Addressing the complex health considerations relating to maternal and child health is important because it provides an opportunity to end preventable deaths among all women, infants, children and adolescents, while greatly improving their health and well-being. The tools and programs that MHA provides seek to improve the health care experience and outcomes for moms and babies in Missouri.

Initiatives to Improve Maternal Health

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Surgeon General released a Maternal Health Action Plan and a Call to Action that has three ambitious goals.

  1. Reduce the maternal mortality rate by 50% in five years.
  2. Reduce the low-risk cesarean delivery rate by 25% in five years.
  3. Achieve blood pressure control in 80% of women of reproductive age with hypertension in five years.

Specifically, to achieve these goals, the Action Plan and Call to Action calls for work on improving prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, and development on reporting quality measures related to maternal mortality and morbidity, including a structural measure for participation in a perinatal quality improvement collaborative program, as well as a cesarean delivery quality reporting measure. Further, goals include improving the quality of and access to postpartum care, especially mental health services and substance use services, including promoting the development of strong parent-child relationships. Additionally, the Action Plan notes there will be additional funding and expansion of AIM bundles on cardiovascular disease and maternal sepsis, and expansion of these bundles to outpatient and community settings.

According to the 2017 Annual Missouri Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review Annual Report, 80% of pregnancy-related deaths were determined to be preventable, and cardiomyopathy was the leading underlying cause of pregnancy-related deaths (26%). The leading recommendation from the PAMR report is to implement standardized practices and procedures across health care systems through evidence-based practices, such as AIM bundles. As Missouri’s designated AIM facilitating organization, MHA will continue to offer AIM collaboratives, as well as other evidence-based initiatives, toolkits and resources to help our partner organizations meet these ambitious goals.

Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health

Soon after launching the Missouri Maternal-Child Learning and Action Network in 2018, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services and MHA partnered to join the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, as funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration, to join the Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health — AIM. AIM is a national data-driven maternal safety and quality improvement initiative. Missouri was designated as an AIM state in 2018, and MHA serves as the designated organization responsible for ensuring completion of AIM activities, achievements and outcomes.

AIM Resources

Missouri Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome Collaborative

The growing increase of neonatal abstinence syndrome is an escalating problem throughout the U.S. and Missouri. The American Academy of Pediatrics states NAS is a multifactorial public health crisis. In the U.S., NAS incidence increased more than fivefold in a decade, rising from 2.8 per 1,000 births in 2004 to 14.4 per 1,000 births in 2014. In Missouri, the reported NAS rate climbed year over year from 2012 to 2015. Recent research suggests that ESC is an evidence-based functional assessment tool that integrates multiple novel approaches to the care of the substance-exposed newborn.

Missouri NAS Collaborative Goals
  • Increase capacity and capability of Missouri nursery locations to provide nonpharmacologic support of infants with in-utero exposure to substance abuse.
  • Use evidence-based, nonpharmacologic treatment to support the infant, ideally through the Eat, Sleep, Console model, to foster an environment that promotes mother-infant attachment and health outcomes.
  • Collaborate to develop Safe Plans of Care for both the infant and the mother.
  • Identify psychosocial and addiction recovery services locally and ensure transitions of care occur.
  • Monitor and report identified data metrics toward performance improvement.

Throughout the next two years, participating organizations will focus on developing improvements in care related to the care of substance-exposed newborns, including keeping the mother-infant dyad intact; incorporating the functional assessment model Eat, Sleep, Console into practice; and establishing Safe Plans of Care of the mother and the infant. Teams will utilize an evidence-based implementation guide as the framework for their work.

Missouri NAS Collaborative participants will receive technical support from MHA staff; bi-monthly collaborative education through the Missouri Telehealth Network’s SHOW-ME ECHO — Mothers, Infants and NAS; shared learning opportunities; and the chance to connect with peers nationally and statewide. Organizations will be able to track their bundle and data progress, as well as share implementation stories with organizations throughout the state.

NAS Collaborative Resources

The Cuff Kit™ Project

MHA and the Missouri Maternal and Child Learning Action Network are pleased to announce funding from the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services COVID-19 Statewide Health Disparities Initiative Grant to support The Cuff Kit™ Project through the Preeclampsia Foundation. The Cuff Kit™ Project allows for the distribution of blood pressure cuff kits to vulnerable maternal patients at high risk for or diagnosed with blood pressure-related issues.

Below are the criteria and list of resources for participation in the project. The application period has closed, and recipients will be notified by mid-November. If your facility does not receive kits through this lottery drawing, you will receive a courtesy email and will be prioritized for any future distribution cycle.

We are excited to offer this additional avenue to assist you in monitoring maternal patients at high risk for or diagnosed with BP-related issues. We believe this project has a unique ability to reach and impact additional lives as we continue to Change Missouri’s Birth Story.


This project is supported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $35,569,951 with 100 percent funded by CDC/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government. Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (2022). Contract Title: COVID-19 Statewide Health Disparities Initiative. Contract #DH23005233pported by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention of the U.S.

Maternal-Child Health Resources

Contact An Expert

Alison Williams

Alison Williams

Vice President of Clinical Quality Improvement

Send Email

573-893-3700 | ext. 1326

Missouri Maternal-Infant Health: State and Regional Actions Impacting Care Delivery and Health Outcomes

This report details the impressive efforts underway throughout Missouri to impact care delivery and health outcomes of mothers and infants.
Read the report


The Maternal and Child Learning Action Network provides guidance, knowledge-sharing and peer support in developing strategic quality initiatives based on the Triple Aim principles.


Back to Top