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Maternal & Child Health Risk Talk at UWT Wednesday

April 2, 2014

Why Should We Care About Healthy Mothers and Children?

National Public Health Week Event at UW Tacoma

TACOMA, WASH. — On Wednesday, April 9, University of Washington Tacoma will present a talk on maternal and child health as part of National Public Health Week, which runs April 7-13, 2014. Kayla Scrivner, a community liaison specialist with Tacoma- Pierce County Health Department, will share results of a statewide assessment and specific impacts on children growing up in communities with health disparities in Pierce County.

The presentation, “Pierce County Maternal and Child Health Risk Assessment Findings: A Call to Action,” will describe Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s efforts to secure federal funding for expanded evidence-based home visits for high risk families and its work with the State of Washington to prepare an assessment of the health of mothers and children using measures such as the rate of teen births, late or no prenatal care, the frequency of preterm births and low-birth-weight babies, and infant mortality. Other community measures such as rates of unemployment, poverty and crime were also included in the assessment.

The results of the statewide assessment, looking at 57 geographic regions of the state, indicate that mothers and children in urbanized areas of Pierce County--including Tacoma, Parkland, Lakewood, Fife and Puyallup—are at the highest, or near the highest, level of risk for health or developmental problems of any region in the state. Trends in infant mortality, teen pregnancy and low birth weight are “a call to action” to improve the health of the community, says Scrivner.

Scrivner will describe the assessment process, outline the results and discuss what state and local agencies are doing to address health outcomes in Pierce County. Sebrena Chambers, Strengthening Families’ division director at the health department, will be on hand to present the new “We Are Public Health” video, which highlights local public health work.

UW Tacoma’s Nursing and Healthcare Leadership Program will host the presentation as part of National Public Health Week. The American Public Health Association initiated National Public Health Week 20 years ago to spread awareness of the goals of public health as a discipline: improving the health of communities through education, promoting healthy lifestyles and research. According to the association’s web site, “Public Health works to prevent health problems before they occur.”

During the week, more than 200 events across the country range from wellness expos to lectures to outdoor activities to contests. Daily themes highlight important public health issues. “Be healthy from the start” emphasizes every individual’s role in public health. “Don’t panic” outlines the importance of community-wide commitment to disaster preparedness. “Get out ahead” highlights how prevention saves lives and money. “Eat well” draws attention to the nation’s food safety systems. “Be the healthiest nation in one generation” responds to the concern that, for the first time in decades, the current generation isn’t as healthy as the one that came before.

For more information on National Public Health Week and Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, visit For more information on maternal child health in Pierce County, visit

Pierce County Maternal and Child Health Risk Assessment Findings: A Call to Action

Kayla Scrivner, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department

When: Wednesday, April 9, 2014, 4:30 – 6 p.m.

Room 106 Cherry-Parkes; UW Tacoma campus

Cost  FREE

Media Contact
John Burkhardt, Communications, (253) 692-4536 or
Edie Jeffers, Communications Manager (253) 798-2853 or

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