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PR- 173-08
May 7, 2008


35 cities to gather in New York City to share best practices to improve maternal and reproductive health care in America’s cities

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn and National Institute of Reproductive Health President Kelli Conlin, along with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, Baltimore Mayor Sheila Dixon and Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich today launched the 2008 Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health National Summit being held on May 8 and 9 in New York. The Summit, hosted by the National Institute for Reproductive Health (NIRH), will bring together elected officials, public health officers and advocates from over 35 cities in the United States and Mexico to create, promote and share policy solutions that address the reproductive health issues that affect over 100 million women living in urban areas across the country.

“Cites from across the nation and the world are coming together in New York to address the growing disparities in reproductive health and discuss public policy based on science, not ideology.” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Mayors share a common determination to produce results for their constituents and this summit will draw attention to the progress cities across the nation are making in improving reproductive health for millions of women and families.”

“As municipal leaders we have a responsibility to provide for the reproductive health of our constituents, and for any of us to be successful we must have the ability to share best practices and effectively communicate with a community of experts,” said Speaker Quinn “The Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health Summit is a major step towards addressing some of the disparities that New Yorkers and other urban Americans face in everything from unintended pregnancies to sexually transmitted infections. I’m very proud that New York City has the opportunity to host elected officials from across the country for this important conversation.”

“By bringing together forward-thinking leaders from cities across the country, I believe this summit is going to change the way we solve the significant reproductive health care problems faced by urban women and families,” said NIRH President Conlin. “This is the only opportunity anywhere for leaders to share their experience creating bold and groundbreaking initiatives that greatly improve reproductive health. Participants in the Summit are visionaries who are ready to do what it takes to tackle the real issues facing women in American cities: their health, their pregnancies, their families. We believe that these are the advocates who will have a real impact on the future of reproductive health. While national leaders get bogged down in unproductive ideological battles, its urban policymakers who do the hard work of creating effective solutions that have long-lasting community impact. This Summit is putting us firmly on the path to solutions that truly improve urban health.”

“Lawmakers continue to tout politics over science and real public health solutions,” said San Francisco Mayor Newsom. “In this divisive political environment, it falls to municipal leaders to come together to push the envelope, to innovate, and to address the reality of reproductive and maternal health in urban and suburban America.”

“Mayors and city public health officials are pushing on all cylinders with proven strategies like aggressive outreach, free clinics, school-based health centers and mobile treatment teams despite federal financial setbacks and bureaucratic headaches,” said Baltimore Mayor Dixon. “We are investing in what works, and I commend Mayor Bloomberg and Speaker Quinn for spearheading this dynamic initiative to unite our efforts.”

“Local governments are on the forefront of providing reproductive health care to women,” said Anchorage Mayor Begich. “We must work with diverse stakeholders to come together and create lasting changes to the public health system.”

City and public health officials will discuss how municipalities can help women access timely and comprehensive sexual and reproductive health information and care resulting in healthier women, healthier pregnancies and healthier communities. Urban communities experience disproportionate incidences of teen motherhood, unintended pregnancies, sexually transmitted infections and adverse birth outcomes including low birth weight and infant mortality, than their rural counterparts. The Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health is the National Institute’s latest campaign to bring policy makers, advocates and elected officials to bring the issue of women’s health needs to the forefront. As part of the Urban Initiative, the National Institute will foster sharing of best-practices and promising local models for reproductive health solutions that can be replicated in cities around the country.

Cities participating in the Urban Initiative for Reproductive Health Summit include:
Albuquerque, New Mexico; Anchorage, Alaska; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Atlanta, Georgia; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Boston, Massachusetts; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Columbus, Ohio; Denver, Colorado; Detroit, Michigan; Des Moines, Iowa; East Haven, Connecticut; Hartford, Connecticut; Houston, Texas; Los Angeles, California; Madison, Wisconsin; Mexico City, Mexico; Miami, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Minneapolis, Minnesota; New Haven, Connecticut; New York, New York; Oakland, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Portland, Oregon; Providence, Rhode Island; Seattle, Washington; St. Louis, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; San Francisco, California; and Washington, DC.

For the past ten years, the National Institute for Reproductive Health has worked with more than 40 organizations in 32 states to design new policy approaches helping expand access to quality reproductive health care by providing information and removing barriers. Specific projects have included the Low-Income Access Program, the Residency Training Initiative, the Adolescent Health Care Communication Program, and the Latino Reproductive Rights Project.


Stu Loeser / Evelyn Erskine   (212) 788-2958

Anthony Hogrebe (Council)   (212) 788-7116

Mary Alice Carr (NIRH)   (646) 326-4238

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