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Bring statewide attention to what babies and families need to thrive at Strolling Thunder Colorado – by Jacy Montoya Price

Join families and child advocates from across Colorado on Saturday, September 21 for the StrollingThunder Colorado rally and march. We’ll convene at 9:30 am at the Spring Cafe (1373 Grant St.) with our strollers, wraps and baby carriers to bring attention to the health and well-being of pregnant people, infants and toddlers. We will then march around the Capitol to remind the Colorado legislature to #ThinkBabies for stronger families, vibrant communities and a prosperous state. Register today to join the fun!

The Strolling Thunder rally will kick off with a performance by the Seven Falls Indian Dancers, who will also lead our stroll around the Capitol. Before and after the march, enjoy refreshments provided by the Spring Café and visit with community organizations that serve families with infants and toddlers.Strolling Thunder Colorado is an annual event hosted by the Raise Colorado coalition, the Early Childhood Council Leadership Alliance (ECCLA), the Colorado Association for Education of Young Children (COAEYC), the Colorado Children’s CampaignClayton Early Learningthe Denver Affiliate of the Black Child Development InstituteGuerrilla Mamas, and Think Babies. This year’s event incorporates babywearing with And Carry ON! And Carry On! brings to light a way of life for caregivers and babies to conveniently work and grow. Creating a shared experience to teach and learn through original baby magic!

Early experiences shape how a baby’s brain develops, laying the foundation for future learning, behavior, and health. Join us on September 21 to bring statewide attention to what babies and families need to thrive at Strolling Thunder Colorado.

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Opportunities to engage in Colorado’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee – by Samantha Espinoza

During the 2019 legislative session, the legislature passed and Governor Polis signed HB19-1122 to strengthen Colorado’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee (MMRC). Now, the Maternal Mortality Prevention Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) is working diligently to implement the provisions of the bill, including formalizing the MMRC and developing a report on the causes of and recommendations to prevent maternal mortality in Colorado, which will be submitted to the legislature by July 1, 2020. Interested community members have at least two opportunities to engage in the work of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee:

    1. Help identify the causes of individual maternal deaths by serving as a member of the MMRC. CDPHE is accepting applications for MMRC members, including current resume/curriculum vitae and three references, now through August 15, 2019. Applicants who represent diverse communities with regard to race, ethnicity, immigration status, English proficiency, income, wealth, and geographic region of the state, as well as those who are affected by higher rates of maternal mortality and by a lack of access to the full scope of maternity care health services, are strongly encouraged to apply.

Applications will be reviewed to ensure an optimal mix of expertise and experience on the committee and members will be confirmed by October 1, 2019. The MMRC will meet frequently from October through early 2020 to review each case of maternal death in Colorado, to fully understand what happened, and to honor each life that was lost. If you have questions or would like more information about the MMRC and application process, contact Shivani Bhatia at shivani.bhatia@state.co.us.

    1. Help identify solutions to reduce Colorado’s maternal mortality and morbidity rates by participating in stakeholder engagement events. After the MMRC has reviewed each case of maternal death in Colorado, CDPHE will look to stakeholders to inform recommendations and strategies to prevent maternal deaths and improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant and postpartum people in Colorado, based on the causes identified by the MMRC. CDPHE expects to bring stakeholders together in early 2020 to analyze the findings of the MMRC and prioritize recommendations to be submitted to the legislature in July 2020. To express an interest in this opportunity, contact Shivani Bhatia at bhatia@state.co.us.

If you have an interest in maternal health and helping to reduce Colorado’s maternal mortality rate, we encourage you to share your experience and expertise with CDPHE as a member of the MMRC or as a stakeholder influencing the recommendations made to the legislature. Your voice matters!

The Raise Colorado Coalition also offers an opportunity for maternal health advocates to speak up through its Infant and Maternal Mortality Workgroup, which is working to identify legislative and other policy recommendations to reduce infant and maternal mortality rates in Colorado, and to shrink disparities impacting communities of color and rural families. To learn more about and join Raise Colorado’s Infant and Maternal Mortality Workgroup, contact co-chair Sam Espinoza at samantha@coloradokids.org.

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