The Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University has launched The Princeton Pulse Podcast,” a new podcast exploring the power and possibilities of evidence-informed health policy. Hosted by Heather Howard, professor of the practice and former New Jersey Commissioner of Health and Senior Services, the show brings together scholars, policymakers, and other leaders to examine today’s most pressing health policy issues – domestically and globally. In the inaugural episode, Howard is joined by New Jersey First Lady Tammy Synder Murphy and Elizabeth Armstrong, associate professor of sociology and public affairs, to confront the racial divide in maternal and infant health.
“I’m excited to host this podcast and shine a light on the vital connections between health research and policy,” stated Howard. “Research is a critical tool for crafting, implementing, and evaluating the effectiveness of policy interventions. Our show offers an opportunity to take a closer look. We’ll cover the latest policy trends, discuss how research is informing policies to improve health outcomes, and elevate partnerships with policymakers.”
Episode #1 highlights the U.S. maternal health crisis, which is especially dire in New Jersey, where Black mothers are seven times more likely than white mothers to die of pregnancy-related complications and Black babies are three times less likely to survive one year of age. First Lady Tammy Murphy explains how the state is tackling these disparities through Nurture New Jersey, a collaborative endeavor aimed at making New Jersey the safest, most equitable place in the nation to deliver and raise a baby. Armstrong, whose research interests include public health, the history and sociology of medicine, risk in obstetrics, and medical ethics, connects New Jersey’s policy efforts to the most recent research in maternal health.
“We have begun to recognize that it is racism, not race, that drives health inequities and leads to adverse outcomes, like infant mortality and maternal mortality,” asserted Armstrong.
The episode addresses such topics as social determinants of maternal and infant health, national trends in insurance coverage, the value of doulas and nurse-family partnerships, and other solutions for improving our maternity care system.
“We need to rethink and transform the way we deliver care, the way we think about community, and the way we support one another,” the First Lady noted. “It’s all of us coming together… academia, business, health care… and accepting the fact that we can move the needle together.”