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Visiting Scholar: How Maternal Health Moved from Niche to Policy

  • Oct 30, 2012 · 4:00 PM

With Dr. Stephanie Smith, Public Administration Dept, University of New Mexico

With nearly 300,000 women still dying each year related to pregnancy and childbirth and only ten countries having achieved Millennium Development Goal number five concerning maternal health, maternal mortality remains a significant global public health problem.

The Safe Motherhood Initiative, launched in 1987, helped to establish a
network of actors that worked to draw attention and resources to address the problem. Their efforts to generate evidence and establish the issue on the agendas of international agencies, donors and governments in high-burden countries contributed to increases in programmatic support, but over the course of two decades failed to attract a degree of resources equal to the severity of the problem. Since 2007, however, maternal health has advanced significantly on the agendas of world leaders. Resource commitments to the UN Secretary-General-led Global Strategy for Women’s and Children’s Health and G8 Muskoka Initiative herald a new era for maternal health. This article examines why maternal health rose on the policy agendas of world
leaders between 2007 and 2010 after a 20-year period of relatively limited attention and resourcing.

Stephanie Smith earned her Ph.D. in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Syracuse University in 2009, where her interest in the politics of health policy and administration in developing countries helped to shape her research agenda. She has studied maternal and newborn health policy at the global level and in India, Nepal and Bolivia since 2005, resulting in publications in The Lancet and Social Science & Medicine. The Gates and MacArthur Foundations have funded her research. She teaches courses on global health policy, comparative public administration and organizational theory in the Master of Public
Administration program at the University of New Mexico. Prior to joining academia, she served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Vladivostok, Russia, and worked in the nonprofit sector in San Francisco.

Questions: Contact the SFSU Department of Public Administration at (415)[masked]

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