The New Jersey Department of Health released surgical/cesarean birth rates by hospital among women considered at low risk for birth complications; the Department of Health’s data shows that too many unnecessary surgical births are performed in the state.The national target for these surgical procedures is 23.9 per 100 live births and New Jersey’s rate is well above at 30.3 per 100 live births in 2016. Within their own facilities, only 8 out of 49 New Jersey birthing hospitals meet the benchmark.“Our goal is to make New Jersey the safest place in the United States to give birth,” said First Lady Tammy Murphy. “Through our statewide Nurture NJ campaign, we are working with the leadership of our hospitals and increasing awareness around this issue so that we can reduce unnecessary caesarean sections and improve maternal health outcomes for all New Jersey women.”Last month, the Department shared with each birthing hospital their individual rates and offered evidenced-based clinical strategies to reduce surgical births.Leaders from birthing hospitals have formally committed to the Commissioner of Health to work to achieve cesarean birth rates for low risk women of 23.9 percent or lower at their hospitals by December 31, 2021. “Cesarean births are a major surgery that increases the likelihood of birth complications, such as maternal bleeding, infections and blood clots,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal. “While these procedures can save lives, too many women in our state are experiencing preventable c-sections, which are putting them at unnecessary risk for injury or death.”The Department has launched a new New Jersey Maternal Data Center website, which includes the data released today, information on why it is important to avoid surgical births and resources related to birth outcome improvements.“Today’s launch represents the first data to action release through the New Jersey Maternal Data Center and the New Jersey Maternal Care Quality Collaborative,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal. “Nurture NJ and the Department are focused on sharing high quality data in order to drive improvements.” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal.In summer 2019, the Department will release additional data as part of its statutory requirement under P.L. 2018, c.82 to annually publish the New Jersey Report Card of Hospital Maternity Care. The public data dashboard will include surgical birth rates, complication rates, and severe maternal morbidity (SMM) data.The New Jersey Maternal Care Quality Collaborative is a multidisciplinary team of stakeholders who will oversee the transformation of maternal healthcare in N.J. The collaborative will establish a shared vision and statewide goals for key health services-focused on decreasing maternal deaths, injuries and racial and ethnic disparities under the umbrella of Nurture NJ. Nurture NJ, First Lady Tammy Murphy’s statewide awareness campaign, is committed to reducing infant and maternal mortality and morbidity and ensuring equitable maternal and infant care among women and children of all races and ethnicities. The campaign, which is devoted to serving every mother, every baby, and every family, includes a multi-pronged, multi-agency approach to improve maternal and infant health among New Jersey women and children. Nurture NJ includes internal collaboration and programing between departments and agencies, an annual Black Maternal and Infant Health Leadership Summit, the First Lady’s Family Festival event series, and a robust social media strategy to inform and raise awareness.Low-risk cesareans sections are used as a measure for maternal health care—specifically, births that are among first time mothers delivering one baby in the head-first presentation.