Maternal Health Efforts

DSHS implements and collaborates in several efforts related to improving maternal health in Texas.  

Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force  

The Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force began its work in late 2014 with administrative and epidemiologic support from DSHS. The multidisciplinary Task Force studies and reviews maternal death cases and statewide data trends, as well as makes recommendations impacting maternal mortality in Texas. More information and the latest Task Force reports can be found the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force webpage.    

Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology  

One of Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology’s (MCH-Epi) core functions is scientific research. This critical work informs and drives all prevention programming aimed at reducing maternal mortality and morbidity. MCH-Epi also has a role in producing reports and publications on maternal health, which can be found on the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Publications and Presentations webpage.  

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System

The Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System is a survey designed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to identify and monitor health behaviors before, during, and after pregnancy through a survey of women who have recently given birth. DSHS administers the survey in Texas, and uses this information to gauge where education and awareness efforts are needed.    

Someday Starts Now 

Someday Starts Now is a public health awareness campaign that targets women of childbearing age and their families. The program promotes the importance of pre- and inter-conception health, as well as healthy lifestyle behaviors to prevent chronic conditions known to adversely affect maternal health including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and smoking.  

Preconception Peer Educators

The Preconception Peer Education Program (PPE) is a national Office of Minority Health initiative to reduce infant mortality in the African American community. Young men and women are trained on a peer-educator model to educate peers and members of their community on the importance of preconception health, seeking regular preventive care, having a reproductive life plan, and the impact of social determinants of health on their wellbeing.

DSHS through the Maternal and Child Health Section leads establishment of the PPE program in Texas in collaboration with the University of North Texas Health Science Center, by engaging the 9 Texas Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for implementation of the PPE program. This includes establishing infrastructure for the program in the respective campuses to ensure sustainability, as well as conduct orientation and training events to students and campus advisors. More information can be found on the Office of Minority Health Webpage.

Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies 

The Texas Collaborative for Healthy Mothers and Babies (TCHMB) is a perinatal quality collaborative that is supported through a Title V-funded contract with the University of Texas. TCHMB advances health care quality and patient safety for mothers, and meets quarterly to address emerging issues related to maternal health outcomes.  

DSHS Breastfeeding Support Program

The DSHS Breastfeeding Support Program is a multi-component program to reduce barriers to breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity and to support the healthy practice of breastfeeding. DSHS leads several efforts, and also partners with Texas WIC and other programs to encourage adoption of best-practice breastfeeding support strategies in health care, employment, and community settings. Learn more about breastfeeding benefits, barriers and recommendations in the Texas Department of State Health Services Infant Feeding Position Statement and at

Smoking Cessation

DSHS participates in initiatives to increase referrals to the Texas Quitline, which, in part, offers confidential phone and web counseling services and resources to decrease smoking among women of childbearing age and reduce maternal smoking.

Collaboration and Partnerships

The work of the DSHS Maternal and Child Health program is advanced through collaboration and partnerships with many national and state agencies, organizations, and universities. The goal of these collaborations is to harness the expertise of multidisciplinary professionals who share an interest in helping to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity in Texas.  

A prime example of this collaboration is the Maternal Mortality Forum that was held in partnership with the Texas Medical Association. More information on the forum can be found on Texas Medical Association website.

Last updated December 5, 2017