2013: A Year of Promise for Healthy Moms & Babies

December 20th, 2013

For maternal and child health, 2013 has been a year of promise. Expanded access to health care and a commitment to reducing disparities, passage of the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act, revised guidelines for term pregnancy, new recommendations on immunization and oral healthcare during pregnancy, and momentum on issues like maternal mental health and newborn screening are all good news for moms, babies, and families.

At a time when the scope of national health care is changing, technology is making new connections possible, and consumers are more engaged than ever with their own health outcomes, we’re passionate about our role and inspired by the opportunities the year brought.

Some highlights from HMHB and our programs:

  • Text4baby, our free mobile health information service, reached the milestone of 1,000 public and private partners and 650,000 participants!
  • We enhanced Text4baby messages with interactivity, mobile webpages, videos, resources, and more. Among the features: Appointment reminders, resource phone numbers, quizzes, and more.
  • Early this year in partnership with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), Text4baby added a Medicaid module to identify participant health insurance status and provide information on Medicaid/CHIP to those who indicate they are uninsured.
  • Text4baby’s 2013 flu module expanded information and access to flu vaccination for participants, with a partnership with Rite Aid providing 10,000 free flu shots to Text4baby participants. HMHB’s flu prevention Twitter chat with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) reached an estimated 3.7 million accounts and had 32.5 million total impressions, making #NIVW2013 a trending topic!
  • Text4baby disseminated exciting new evaluation findings, including results showing that 65% of survey participants reported that Text4baby helped them remember an appointment or immunization; 74% reported that Text4baby messages informed them of medical warning signs they did not know; and 67% reported talking to their doctor about a topic they read about in a Text4baby message.
  • We unveiled an NPIHC video, sharing the stories and voices at the heart of the program’s mission to collaborate, educate, and advocate for preterm infants and their families across the lifespan.
  • We began management of a key state program – the Maryland Premature Infant Health Network – which brings together community and health organizations, healthcare providers, and parents to increase quality healthcare access and awareness around issues related to premature infant health and development. Hundreds of participating individuals and institutions are making a difference in Maryland through this group effort.
  • We convened a Perinatal Nutrition Working Group (PNWG) panel at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting, bringing together colleagues to share the latest in perinatal nutrition science, and presented on early childhood nutrition to a packed house of more than 100 early childhood educators at the Zero to Three National Training Institute.
  • We welcomed Healthy Start Coalition of Miami-Dade as a new community partner in the Healthy Beginnings for Babies program, working to increase well-baby visits and vaccinations during the first year of life.
  • HMHB was featured in many national and local TV, radio, online, and print outlets this year, including: Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Essence magazine, Huffington Post,, Official White House Blog, and Discovery Fit & Health.
  • We also launched TEAM Text4baby as a way for moms, dads, grandparents, and others to get involved, spread the word, gain inside access and offers, and stay in touch with us beyond the service.
  • And, in its first full year, our HMHB blog has become a thriving hub for  education and outreach, featuring 22 posts on timely maternal and child health topics, authored by our team and by partners like the U.S. Breastfeeding Committee, First Candle, the Office on Women’s Health at HHS, Preeclampsia Foundation, and more.

We are excited about the progress made in 2013, and ready to expand it in 2014.

On the horizon: A new contract from CMS will deploy a customized version of our Text4baby service, with specific information about services and benefits available in four states. We’re thrilled for this opportunity to refine and evaluate an integrated approach for providing access to care and health education.

We’re also pleased to share Text4baby’s new partnership with Centering Louisiana, through the Strong Start Initiative, which will provide Louisiana women with mobile health messages that reinforce the Centering model of care.

Plus many more developments for HMHB’s programs on the way, in support of our mission: Improving the health and safety of mothers, babies, and families through education and collaborative partnerships.

We’re thankful for each of you – partners, healthcare providers, moms, advocates – who have made 2013 a year of great promise. In the new year, let’s continue our collaborations to make the world a healthier place for pregnancy, birth, and parenting!