Commissioners host conference on nurturing care and maternal health

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(Camden, NJ) – On Monday, Commissioner Virginia Betteridge joined First Lady of New Jersey Tammy Murphy to discuss different components of maternal health at the Camden County Conference on Nurturing Care and Maternal Health. During the program, several topics were discussed including healthy pregnancies, safe childbirth, early childhood development and more.

“Maternal health and wellness are extremely important, and it is crucial that experts in this field come together to solve this crisis and that all representatives on the government side are investing every resource possible to improve the quality of life for mothers and babies,” said Commissioner Virginia Betteridge, liaison to the Department of Health and Human Services. “The state of maternal health in this country and in New Jersey is unacceptable. This is an issue that we have the power to change, and it is of utmost importance that we are working around the clock to create a better outcome for expecting mothers and their infants.”

First Lady Tammy Murphy has a decorated history with philanthropic work regarding maternal health. She started the statewide initiative, Nurture NJ, that is committed to transforming New Jersey into one of the safest states in the country for maternal health.  The three main goals of the program are to ensure all women are healthy and have access to care before pregnancy, build a safe, high quality and equitable system of care and services for all women during prenatal, labor and delivery, and postpartum care and to ensure supportive community environments during every other period of a woman’s life so that the conditions and opportunities for health are always available.


“I was thrilled to join Commissioner Betteridge to discuss our efforts to improve maternal and infant health across New Jersey,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Through the Nurture NJ initiative, we have been able to implement some life-changing, innovative programs and policy changes to better serve the mothers and babies of our state. It is so important to get the word out about these resources, which is why we must continue to have these conversations and ensure that our community leaders are informed about all that we are doing to improve our maternal and infant health outcomes statewide.”

According to the Health Resources and Services Administration, the maternal health outcomes and disparities in New Jersey are among the highest in the nation with approximately 14 women dying from pregnancy related complications every year. Black women in New Jersey experience seven times the rate of death from pregnancy related complications than their white counterparts.

In July 2023, Governor Phil Murphy signed the “New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center Act,” that created the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Authority. The Authority is tasked with overseeing the New Jersey Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center based in Trenton and provides a variety of services including pre and postnatal care and aims to reduce the number of birth related deaths in the state. 

“Maternal mortality is an urgent, worldwide issue that needs to be addressed and here in New Jersey, we are working tirelessly towards solutions,” said Anita Wemple, CEO of the Community Planning and Advocacy Council. “Pregnancy and the post-partum period are incredibly vulnerable times for women and children, and it is imperative that we are continuing to work together to address this crisis.”

You can view the photos here.