Gov. Murphy Signs Bill Establishing Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center

Governor Phil Murphy, joined by First Lady Tammy Murphy, today signed S3864, known as the “New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center Act.” The bill will create the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Authority, which will oversee the highly anticipated New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center in Trenton.

The one-of-a-kind Authority will be governed by a 15-member Board and shall employ an appointed President and Chief Executive Officer who will hire accompanying staff. The Board will adopt recommendations for action to reduce maternal mortality, morbidity, and disparities from the New Jersey Maternal Care Quality Collaborative (NJMCQC). The Board also will be required to coordinate with a Community Advisory Committee to support and inform the work of the Authority. The 11-member community advisory committee will represent diverse community groups with relevant experience as providers or recipients of maternal, infant, and child health services.

In 2019, First Lady Tammy Murphy launched Nurture NJ, a statewide program committed to reducing the maternal and infant mortality epidemic in New Jersey and ensuring equitable care among women and children of all races and ethnicities. In January 2021, the First Lady unveiled the Nurture NJ Maternal and Infant Health Strategic Plan – a blueprint to reduce New Jersey’s maternal mortality rate by 50 percent over five years and eliminate racial disparities in birth outcomes. Today’s bill was inspired by the Strategic Plan, which recommended the establishment of a “Center in Trenton that focuses on innovation and research in maternal and infant health through partnerships with the state’s academic, funder, business, and faith communities.”

Since its inception, Nurture NJ has seen 43 pieces of maternal and infant health legislation signed by Governor Murphy, developed and implemented groundbreaking programs and policies, hosted 17 Family Festivals bringing resources to more than 6,800 families statewide, and more – positioning New Jersey as a national leader in fighting the maternal and infant health crisis.

The work of Nurture NJ has proven successful in advancing its mission of making New Jersey the safest, most equitable state in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. Ranked 47th in the nation for maternal and infant mortality when Governor Murphy took office in 2018, New Jersey moved up to 29th in America’s Health Ranking just last month.

In the recently signed Fiscal Year 2024 budget, the First Lady’s Nurture NJ initiative received nearly $60 million to support maternal and infant health programs and policies. $32 million of that total will go towards the Center, including the $2.22 million allocated in the bill.

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