For Immediate Release

American Journal of Public Health special issue explores efforts to improve birth outcomes

Washington, D.C. — In a new issue of the American Journal of Public Health, researchers and experts investigate the latest methods and practices in improving birth outcomes. The special issue compiles a collection of commentaries, research studies and editorials to discuss maternal and child health topics ranging from disparities to breastfeeding.

The issue, a supplement to the Journal’s February issue, is developed with funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

“Despite leading the world in remarkable advances in newborn care, the United States has the highest infant mortality rate of all affluent industrialized nations. In fact, a growing number of not-so-affluent nations also outperform the United States in infant survival,” Richard David and James Collins write in an editorial included in the issue.

Contained in the issue are papers that address racial and economic disparities including a study that reviews the impact of Arizona’s immigration law on teen mothers and a research paper investigating the infant mortality gaps between black and white children.

 “We’re still learning what works, but it’s clear that effective approaches must address the many factors that impact the health and well-being of mothers and children, as well as communities,” Gail Christopher and Patrick Simpson discuss in an editorial about racial gaps and birth outcomes.

“When models that have been evaluated and proven effective are lifted up and replicated across the country, we will start to see a dramatic narrowing of the racial gap in birth outcomes, leading to greater health and well-being, shared by all,” they explain.

This special issue also examines health and nutrition programs, including an evaluation of a program providing influenza vaccine text reminders to mothers and discussion of programs that provide publically and federally funded services for mothers, children and families.

International perspectives to improve birth outcomes and health are further included in the issue through papers that observe maternal health in Pakistan and the training of obstetricians in Ghana.  

A full listing of papers included in this issue of the American Journal of Public Health can be found below. These articles will be published online Dec. 19, 2013, at 4 p.m. EST by the American Journal of Public Health® under “First Look.”  “First Look” articles have undergone peer review, copyediting and approval by authors but have not yet been printed to paper or posted online by issue. The American Journal of Public Health is published by the American Public Health Association.

Included in this supplement of the American Journal of Public Health:

·         Improving Birth Outcomes Requires Closing the Racial Gap – Dr. Gail Christopher

·         Layers of Inequality: Power, Policy and Health – Dr. Richard J. David

·         The History and Significance of the Society for the Analysis of African-American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI) – Dr. Rebecca E. Hasson

·         Improving Maternal Health in Pakistan: Towards a deeper understanding of the social determinants of poor women’s access to maternal health services – Dr. ZubiaMumtaz

·         Moving towards evidence-based federal healthy start program evaluations: Accounting for bias in birth outcomes studies – Dr. Cristian I. Meghea

·         The impact of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law on utilization of health care and public assistance among Mexican-origin teen mothers and their mother figures – Dr. Russell B. Toomey

·         Influenza vaccine text message reminders for urban, low-income pregnant women: a randomized controlled trial – Dr. Melissa Stockwell

·         Prenatal participation in a public health nutrition program is associated with healthy infant weight gain – Dr. Lynn S. Edmunds

·         Shifts in intended and unintended pregnancies in the United States, 2001-2008 – Dr. Lawrence B. Finer

·         Rising rates of maternal morbidity before and during pregnancy in California – Dr. Kimberly Gregory

·         Construction of early- and mid-life work trajectories in women, and their association with birth weight – Dr. John D. Meyer

·         Preterm birth and prenatal maternal occupation: The role of Hispanic ethnicity and nativity in  a population based sample in Los Angeles, California – Dr. Ondine von Ehrenstein

·         Association of access to publicly funded family planning services with teen birth rates in California counties – Ms. Marina J. Chabot

·         Maternal stressful life events prior to conception and the impact of infant birthweight in the United States – Dr. Whitney Witt

·         Gestational weight gain and risk of infant death in the United States – Dr. Regina Davis

·         Improved birth weight for black infants: Outcomes of a healthy start program – Ms. Catherine L. Kothari

·         The changing character of the black-white infant mortality gap, 1983-2004 – Mr. Steven Haider

·         The new food package and breastfeeding outcomes among WIC participants in Los Angeles County – Dr. Brent A. Langellier

·         A primary care intervention increases breastfeeding duration and intensity: Results of two randomized clinical trials – Dr. Karen Bonuck

·         The effects of breastfeeding exclusivity on early childhood outcomes – Dr. Jade Vanessa Marcus Jenkins

·         Implementation and randomized controlled trial evaluation of universal postnatal nurse home-visiting – Dr. Kenneth A. Dodge

·         Association of maternal and community factors with enrollment in home visiting among at-risk, first time mothers – Dr. Neera K. Goyal

·         Maternal –child home visitation increases pregnancy spacing for first-time Latina mothers – Dr. Katherine Yun

·         The public health impact of training physicians to become Obstretricians/ Gynecologists in Ghana – Dr. Frank Joseph Anderson

·         A quasi-experimental analysis of maternal altitude exposure and infant birth weight – Dr. Sammy Zahran

·         Association between birth place and current asthma: the role of environment and acculturation – Dr. Shahed Iqbal

·         Use of spatial epidemiology and hot spot analysis to target women eligible for prenatal WIC services – Dr. Thomas J. Stopka

The American Journal of Public Health ® is the monthly journal of the American Public Health Association, the oldest and most diverse organization of public health professionals in the world. APHA is a leading publisher of books and periodicals promoting sound scientific standards, action programs and public policy to enhance health. More information is available at

Complimentary online access to the Journal is available to credentialed members of the media. Address inquiries to Kimberly Short at APHA, 202-777-2511, or via email. A single print issue of the Journal is available for $35 from the Journal’s Subscriptions Department. If you are not a member of the press, a member of APHA or a subscriber, online single issue access is $30, and online single article access is $22. For direct customer service, call 202-777-2516, or email.

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The W.K. Kellogg Foundation, founded in 1930 by breakfast cereal pioneer Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Based in Battle Creek, Mich., WKKF engages with  communities nationally and in priority places across the country, as well as internationally, to create conditions that propel vulnerable children to realize their full potential in school, work and life.

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