By Gabrielle Scarlett
The Maternal and Child Health Fellows Program enters its third year with 26 state legislators from 18 states and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The program enables legislators and staff who are experienced and emerging leaders on maternal and child health-related issues.
The new cohort will kick off later this month to discuss current research and policy trends. Fellows will connect with experts and exchange legislative ideas around federal-state partnerships, maternal and child mental health, and maternal and infant mortality. They will also join the Opioid Policy Fellows to discuss suicide prevention and adverse childhood experiences.
See what the group had to say about becoming an MCH Fellow:
"Our state has a long legacy of leading the nation in expanding health care, and I want to build on that. Joining this program alongside legislators and staff leading health care innovations is an incredible honor, and I hope to bring those ideas back to my state." —Sen. Emily Randall, Washington (D)
"Utah has one of the youngest populations in the nation and maternal and child health has a large impact on our state. I want to bring back to our state important information that will help us build good, effective policy." —Rep. Susan Pulsipher, Utah [R]
Fast facts about the 2022 cohort:
- The top maternal and child health issues identified by the fellows as legislative priorities for their states include maternal mortality, infant mortality, substance use disorder (including neonatal abstinence syndrome), parental mental health and children's mental health.
- The cohort includes a legislator from a U.S. territory for the first time.
- The cohort includes legislators with a wide range of legislative experience, from one to 17 years.
Fifty legislators and legislative staff from 34 states have participated in the program since 2019. These fellows have introduced more than 150 bills to address maternal and child health issues in their state. For example, fellows partnered with state and local agencies, health care providers and community organizations and introduced bills on post-partum coverage, access to substance use disorder services, midwifery and children mental health services.
The NCSL MCH Fellows Program is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau's Supporting State Maternal and Child Health Policy Innovation Program.
Gabrielle Scarlett is a policy analyst in NCSL's Health Program.