Mamas are many things: protectors, warriors, nurturers, providers, caretakers. But one thing a mother should never be is at risk of danger when bringing another life into this world. Regretfully, thousands of birthing people are still subject to birth trauma and complications each and every year. Thankfully, however, through thoughtful intervention, cultural competency, and medical advancement, we can begin to turn the tides and offer birthing mothers a better path forward.

Governor Murphy, alongside First Lady Tammy Murphy, have made it a priority of their administration to improve outcomes and make the Garden State a better place to raise a family. Under Governor Murphy’s time in office, New Jersey has jumped from 47th in the nation in birth outcomes to an impressive 29th in just a few short years. Many of these advancements are due to the commitment of First Lady Tammy Murphy, who has demonstrated a tremendous dedication to ensuring equitable care for women and babies all throughout the Garden State.

Through her Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan, New Jersey has had the ability to begin the important work of reducing New Jersey’s maternal mortality rate and reducing racial disparities in birthing outcomes. Since the introduction of this strategic initiative, 43 pieces of maternal and infant health legislation have been signed by Governor Murphy. There have also been a number of groundbreaking programs, policies, and initiatives which will revolutionize NJ’s health standards and help the Garden State establish itself as a leader in the fight against poor outcomes for mothers and children.

Governor and First Lady Murphy recently came to the Capital City to celebrate the signing of the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center Act. This act allows for the creation of the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Authority, who will be responsible for the development of the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton. The newly appointed Board will adopt best practices  to reduce maternal mortalit and disparities from the New Jersey Maternal Care Quality Collaborative (NJMCQC). The Board will also coordinate with a Community Advisory Committee, who will represent diverse communities with relevant experience in maternal, infant, and child health services.

First Lady Murphy stated “We all feel an instinctive need to protect our mothers and babies so that every family begins its life together in health, wellness and joy. This center will be an incubator for research and development, an academic and perinatal workforce training center, a data collaborative, and so much more. It will offer comprehensive clinical services to serve moms before, during, and after pregnancy and will not only help us transform the maternal and infant health landscape in New Jersey, but will make our state the national model and gold standard for maternal care. I am grateful and enormously proud to see New Jersey commit to leading this effort for generations to come through the work of this center.”

Per Mayor Reed Gusciora, “Governor Phil Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy have been leading champions for maternal and infant health; Trenton mothers and newborns will receive outstanding care as a result of the Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center. The Murphy administration is rightly addressing systemic disparities in prenatal and postpartum care that Black and Brown mothers receive; with a shared vision for a brighter and healthier future, there is so much that we can accomplish together. After the closure of St. Francis Hospital, this new Center marks the start of a new chapter in the health ecosystem of our Capital City, which will create jobs and improve health outcomes for Trentonians.”

Governor Murphy also weighed in, noting “I am thrilled to sign today’s bill that officially establishes the government authority that will build the Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center right here in Trenton. This Center will both drive policy and provide badly-needed maternal health care services in Trenton, which currently does not have a birthing center and suffers from some of the widest racial disparities in maternal and infant deaths. I am tremendously grateful to Tammy for her dedication to solving this maternal health crisis. She has been shining a light on this issue, and bringing attention to the hard truths. Today marks another important step in our ongoing efforts to protect the health of mothers and newborns.”

As New Jersey charges ahead on its journey towards better outcomes for mother and baby alike, these efforts serve as a heartening reminder that change is possible. We want New Jersey, and especially the Capital City, to be the best place it possibly can when it comes to maternal and infant health, and with the signing of this act, we just took a significant leap towards a better start at life in the Garden State.

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