The nation’s rate of maternal mortality has been steadily rising, and nowhere is that increase more evident than in Georgia.
Georgia has the highest rate of maternal deaths among the 50 states, according to public health officials here.
The Georgia estimate of 35 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births in 2011 has risen from 20.5 from the period 2001 to 2006.
That increase has kept the state “at the bottom of the pile when it comes to maternal mortality,’’ said Dr. Seema Csukas, director of the Maternal and Child Health Section for the state Department of Public Health.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald
Maternal mortality, or “pregnancy-related death,” is defined by the CDC as the death of a woman while pregnant or within one year of pregnancy termination from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy or its management.
The nation as a whole has seen its maternal mortality rate rise from 13.3 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2006 to a currently estimated mortality rate of about 21 per 100,000 live births in 2010.
The Department of Public Health said Tuesday that it has been conducting an analysis of maternal deaths in Georgia. The agency is also partnering with the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) and Merck for Mothers in a project to reduce the number of women who bleed to death during or after pregnancy. full story
Last month, a prominent former Georgian had a mammogram in front of millions of people – a test that eventually produced stunning results.
Amy Robach, 40, an anchor on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” didn’t figure she had cancer. It was her first mammogram, and she had been putting it off.
Amy Robach in 2008
“In fact, I would have considered it virtually impossible that I would have cancer,’’ Robach said in an ABC blog post. “I work out, I eat right, I take care of myself and I have very little family history; in fact, all of my grandparents are still alive.”
Several producers and her on-air colleague Robin Roberts, a breast cancer survivor, had convinced Robach that doing the test on live television on “Good Morning America” would save lives.
This week, Robach, a graduate of Snellville’s Brookwood High and the University of Georgia, announced that she has breast cancer. She said on her blog post that she is scheduled to undergo surgery Thursday.
Yet her diagnosis would not have been made if she had followed some federal guidelines for screening. full story
Researchers at Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health have opened a new center that aims to improve the lives of people with mental and substance use disorders.
The Center for Behavioral Health Policy Studies is bringing together a team of faculty, staff and students from Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, the University of South Carolina, and the Carter Center Mental Health Program.
The center’s director, Dr. Benjamin Druss, says he hopes it will become “a center of gravity within the Atlanta community’’ to help people with these disorders.
Here’s a GHN video interview with Druss, courtesy of Emory, where he discusses mental health and substance abuse benefits, the Affordable Care Act, and the center’s work.
A ‘‘C’’ grade sounds pretty average, at best.
But Georgia’s ‘‘C’’ on a newly released report card on premature births represents significant improvement on a statistic that can be a matter of life and death.
Georgia lowered its preterm birth rate to 12.7 percent from 13.2 percent, according to the March of Dimes 2013 Premature Birth Report Card.
The ‘‘C’’ is the highest grade given to Georgia in the six years of March of Dimes report cards.
Georgia is part of a national trend toward improved preterm birth rates. Between 2011 and 2012, 31 states saw improvement. The nation as a whole scored a “C” grade on this year’s report card, which reflects 2012 data.
Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald, commissioner of the state Department of Public Health, told GHN on Friday that Georgia’s progress on preterm births “is very exciting.” She added that the agency’s own updated statistics for 2012 show an even lower rate for the state – 10.9 percent.
Three Southeastern states — Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana — each received an “F’’ on the report card. Alaska, California, Oregon, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine earned “A’’ grades. full story
The horrors of bullying burst into the news again this week with the report of an 8-year-old Carroll County girl having her hair pulled so hard that her scalp ripped.
Third-grader Aolani Dunbar was bullied so severely that she had to be taken to a hospital emergency room, her Roopville family said. Aolani’s family said her schoolmates picked on her for two weeks because she got hair extensions.
Also this month, two girls were arrested in central Florida in the wake of the suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Sedwick, who allegedly had been bullied online and at school.
(The sheriff in the Florida case said last week that bullying by peers may not have been the sole factor in Rebecca’s death, and that he was looking into her troubled home life.)
Bullying has always been a major problem, but its prevalence appears to have increased with the growth of social media sites and the Internet, experts say.
“The advent of technology took bullying out of schoolyards and into your homes,’’ Stephanie Woodard, Hall County solicitor general, said at an Atlanta forum on bullying on Tuesday. “I do believe [bullying] is a public health problem.’’
It has not been an easy problem to solve, said experts at the forum, sponsored by Voices for Georgia’s Children and Georgia Children’s Advocacy Network. full story