Administration Highlights Increases in Access to Services and Support
TRENTON - During National Women’s Health Week (NWHW), May 12-18, Governor Murphy and First Lady Tammy Murphy, alongside the New Jersey Departments of Health and Human Services, will join local stakeholders to highlight the State’s efforts and priorities in improving women’s health.
“This Administration is deeply committed to protecting women’s health and improving health outcomes for our mothers and children, many of whom are all too often left behind,” said Governor Murphy. “As advocates and stakeholders across the state and country celebrate National Women’s Health Week, our actions build upon that commitment by enshrining equity and access into state law so that future generations of New Jersey’s women and children are provided the care they deserve.”
“During Women’s Health Week, it is important to recognize the inequities in maternal health,” First Lady Tammy Murphy said. “Through Nurture NJ, the Administration is dedicated to improving health outcomes for women of all ethnicities and races.”
As part of Women’s Health Week, Commissioner Elnahal will join Newark Community Health Center President and CEO Pamela Clarke and legislative leaders at the center’s 4th annual Women’s Health Symposium in Newark. This event will begin at 10 a.m. at the Newark Museum on Tuesday, May 14.
“Improving the health of all women is a distinct priority of Governor Murphy, First Lady Tammy Murphy, and the Department,” Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal said. “One of the state’s largest focuses regarding women’s health has been on addressing and eliminating disparities in black maternal and infant deaths.’’
“Investing in women’s health is both smart health care policy and smart economic policy,” Commissioner Johnson said. “At Human Services, we will continue to take action to support women’s health and reduce risk factors that can adversely affect the health of women and their families. During National Women’s Health Week, we reaffirm our commitment to the health and well-being of the women across our state who make New Jersey a vibrant and diverse community in which to live, work and thrive.”
To close out the week, Commissioner Elnahal and Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson will also attend the New Jersey Primary Care Association’s Women’s Health Week luncheon in West Windsor alongside New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs Deputy Commissioner Lisa J Hou.
Ahead of the week-long observance, Commissioners Elnahal and Johnson and Assistant Health Commissioner Lisa Asare joined Governor Murphy in Newark on Wednesday as he signed a package of bills into law to combat New Jersey’s maternal and infant health crisis, with a particular focus on Medicaid services.
Through the Nurture NJ initiative, the Murphy Administration has taken a multi-pronged approach to improving NJ’s maternal and infant mortality rates and eliminating racial health disparities. As part of this effort, the New Jersey Department of Health has invested $4.7 million to increase outreach, support and services to women of color to improve health and birth outcomes. The Healthy Women, Healthy Families program, the Department has provided funding for partners to hire 77 outreach workers — 40 doulas, 29 Community Health Workers and eight Community Health Worker supervisors — to improve the health of black women.
More than 17,000 women have been screened since July 2018 and more than 9,000 were connected to programs like Home Visiting and Healthy Start. Nearly three-quarters of these women were pregnant. Ninety-two women are participating in the doula pilots. To date, 44 have delivered their child with the support of a doula.
The Department of Human Services is expanding family planning coverage under Medicaid, has added Medicaid coverage of postpartum long-acting reversible contraception to increase women’s family planning choices, expanded Medicaid coverage of tobacco cessation and diabetes prevention to decrease risk factors for low-birthweight infants and improve women’s health, and invested in expanding access to affordable child care to help families succeed. The Department will also be adding doula services to Medicaid as part of a newly signed state law and Governor Murphy’s budget proposal.
Earlier this month, Gov. Murphy also signed legislation to establish a Maternal Mortality Review Committee. The group will annually review and report on rates and causes of maternal mortality and morbidity in NJ and recommend improvements. The Maternal Mortality Review Committee will work closely with the New Jersey Maternal Care Quality Collaborative, which is a multidisciplinary team of stakeholders that will oversee the transformation of maternal healthcare in NJ. The collaborative will establish a shared vision and statewide goals for key health services-focused on decreasing maternal deaths, injuries and racial and ethnic disparities under the umbrella of NurtureNJ.
Through Gov. Murphy’s restoration of $7.5 million for family planning services last year, thousands more women in New Jersey can get breast and cervical cancer screening, contraceptive care, and more at the same place they get care for their children and families.
In addition to the Department’s efforts in maternal and infant health, the DOH Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program serves thousands of folks in need with clinical nutrition services, lactation counseling, and more. Last year, more than 50,000 lactation consultations were provided through WIC.
For more information on National Women’s Health Week, visit http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/.