Rutgers School of Nursing will help lead state’s maternal and infant health initiative in Trenton

April 15, 2024

Nursing school is one of three anchor tenants to lead new center supported by $75 million in state and federal funds.

The Rutgers School of Nursing will lead the research, education, and training component of a new $75 million state initiative to improve maternal and infant care.

Rutgers will lead a newly established consortium of state and community colleges that will collaborate with Capital Health and the Trenton Health Team to launch the Maternal and Infant Health Innovation Center. The Trenton, N.J., facility will provide clinical services for the perinatal period — from conception till a year after birth — along with social and wrap-around services, workforce development, and research initiatives. Professor Julie Blumenfeld (DNP, CNM, FACNM, FAAN) is the consortium’s principal investigator, and its steering committee includes faculty from Rutgers School of Nursing and Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

The innovation center, funded through the N.J. Department of Economic Development, aims to improve perinatal health outcomes and eliminate racial disparities.

“I am delighted that Rutgers School of Nursing is leading this unprecedented collaborative venture among multiple higher education partners,” said Linda Flynn (PhD, RN, FAAN), dean of the School of Nursing, which is part of Rutgers Health. “This effort to support high-quality healthcare for New Jersey’s new and expectant parents, develop a highly qualified and diverse perinatal workforce, and create a world-class perinatal health equity research center should help create equitable health outcomes for New Jersey’s mothers and babies.”

The consortium of educational institutions – which includes Mercer County Community College, Stockton University, The College of New Jersey, and Thomas Edison State University – will pool expertise and resources in research, education policy, and advocacy to help make healthcare more equitable, expand the perinatal workforce, reduce maternal mortality and eliminate racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes.

The consortium will enhance existing educational offerings and develop new ones for aspiring nurses, midwives, community health workers, doulas, and lactation professionals. Additionally, the consortium will develop innovative ongoing professional development programs.

“This effort to expand and diversify the existing perinatal workforce promises to improve care and outcomes for women and pregnant people in New Jersey,” said Blumenfeld, a clinical assistant professor and the director of the school’s Nurse-Midwifery and dual Nurse-Midwifery/Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner programs.