Jan 27, 2023
Poor maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes and rates of chronic disease are persistently high in the United States and concentrated in rural and service-deprived areas where local health departments provide most care. In a new Milbank Quarterly study, Taryn A. G. Quinlan, Amelia L. Mitchell, and Glen P. Mays of the Colorado School of Public Health use national survey data from 630 local health departments to understand the relationship between social service collaboration and the provision of direct MCH services, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The authors found local health departments that directly offer MCH services were more likely to collaborate with community partners that provide social services. Still, more than half of these departments were considered low collaborators. “By working together to address MCH disparities, health and social service organizations could pool resources to provide needed services and identify innovative solutions to address disparities in their communities, thereby increasing system capacity to achieve equitable health outcomes,” the authors say.