MACON – Jacob Warren, Ph.D., MBA, CRA, Rufus C. Harris Endowed Chair and director of the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities in Mercer University School of Medicine, has been appointed by United States Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra to the federal Advisory Committee on Infant and Maternal Mortality (ACIMM). 

ACIMM helps to shape the all-of-government response to maternal and infant mortality in the United States by advising the secretary of health and human services on activities, partnerships, policies and programs directed at reducing infant mortality, maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity; and improving the health status of infants and women before, during and after pregnancy.  

“I am truly honored to have been appointed to ACIMM by Secretary Becerra,” said Dr. Warren. “Finding ways to improve maternal and infant health throughout the country is complex and requires coordinated efforts to truly move the needle. The work of the committee – specifically in bringing together leadership from throughout the federal government with the expertise of outside individuals – has true potential to address the stark inequities that exist in maternal and infant health outcomes.”

As part of its recommendations to the secretary, ACIMM advises on how best to coordinate federal, state, local, tribal and territorial governmental efforts designed to improve infant mortality, related adverse birth outcomes and maternal health, as well as influence similar efforts in the private and voluntary sectors. 

ACIMM also provides guidance and recommendations to the secretary on policies, programs, resources and structural/systems level changes required to address related health inequities.

In addition to outside members, ACIMM includes senior leadership from numerous federal agencies, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institutes of Health, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Department of Agriculture, Department of Labor and others.

Dr. Warren’s work focuses on achieving health equity by building academic-community partnerships, developing stakeholder-driven interventions and creating data-driven policy recommendations. Among other projects, he currently directs a $5.6 million federally-funded initiative that is expanding access to prenatal and postpartum clinical care and case management in a 10-county region of rural southern Georgia.

He is actively involved in shaping policy at the state and federal level and serves on several state committees focused on maternal and infant health.

About the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities

The Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities, an NIH Center of Excellence, is housed within the School of Medicine and is dedicated to implementing community-driven solutions to health disparity issues in rural areas of Georgia. Its mission is 1) to partner with rural communities to engage in interdisciplinary research, training and community outreach designed to generate novel, community-driven methods for eliminating health disparities; and 2) to provide data-driven policy recommendations to improve rural health issues. The Center operates a more than $6 million federal portfolio focused on maternal and infant mortality reduction, opioid overdose prevention and chronic disease self-management.

About Mercer University School of Medicine (Macon, Savannah and Columbus)

Mercer University’s School of Medicine was established in 1982 to educate physicians and health professionals to meet the primary care and health care needs of rural and medically underserved areas of Georgia. Today, more than 60 percent of graduates currently practice in the state of Georgia, and of those, more than 80 percent are practicing in rural or medically underserved areas of Georgia. Mercer medical students benefit from a problem-based medical education program that provides early patient care experiences. Such an academic environment fosters the early development of clinical problem-solving and instills in each student an awareness of the place of the basic medical sciences in medical practice. The School opened a full four-year campus in Savannah in 2008 at Memorial University Medical Center. In 2012, the School began offering clinical education for third- and fourth-year medical students in Columbus. Following their second year, students participate in core clinical clerkships at the School’s primary teaching hospitals: Medical Center, Atrium Health Navicent and Piedmont Macon Medical Centers in Macon; Memorial University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis Hospital in Columbus. The School also offers master’s degrees in family therapy, preclinical sciences and biomedical sciences and a Ph.D. in rural health sciences.