Agency RSS

Governor Appoints Task Force on Infant Mortality, First Lady to Chair

            Office of Gov. Dennis Daugaard
500 E. Capitol Ave.
Pierre, S.D. 57501
(605) 773-3212
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  Monday, May 16, 2011
CONTACT:  Tony Venhuizen or Joe Kafka at 605-773-3212
Governor Appoints Task Force on Infant Mortality, First Lady to Chair
PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard has appointed a task force of medical and health professionals to study the state’s infant mortality rate and how to reduce it. First Lady Linda Daugaard will chair the group.
“While South Dakota’s infant mortality rate saw dramatic improvements from the 1960s to the 1990s, the rate has worsened in the past decade. It’s a sad truth that many infants in our state don’t reach their first birthdays,” the Governor said. “I’ve asked Linda to chair this task force because I can’t think of anyone more committed to the health and well-being of children in this state.”
The Governor’s Task on Infant Mortality will meet throughout the summer and fall and will report its recommendations to the Governor by Dec. 15, 2011.
“It was a shock to learn that an average of 79 babies die before their first birthdays each year in South Dakota,” said the First Lady. “I’m confident the dedicated experts on this task force can identify some concrete ways to start bringing those numbers down, and I’m looking forward to working with them.”
For 2000-2009, South Dakota’s infant mortality rate was 7.3 per 1,000 births, higher than those of neighboring North Dakota, Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Montana, and 29th highest in the nation.
The infant mortality rate among American Indians in South Dakota has improved in recent years, but it’s still the highest of any state in the nation at 12.4 per 1,000 births.
Task force members are a diverse group from rural and urban areas across the state. They represent hospitals, neonatal units, rural clinics, behavioral health, social work, the Sanford USD School of Medicine, Indian Health Service, Tribal Chairmen’s Health Board, medical practices ranging from family practice and obstetrics to neonatology and perinatology, and state agencies.
A complete list of task force members is attached.

Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality
First Lady Linda Daugaard, Chair
Jeff Boyle, MD, Sioux Falls
Mary Carpenter, MD, Winner
Sophie Conroy, Kyle
Sara DeCouteau, Sisseton
Janet Dutcher, CNP, Sioux Falls
Michael Elliot, MD, Sioux Falls
Deb Fischer-Clemens, RN, Sioux Falls
Gail Gray, Rapid City
Doneen Hollingsworth, State Health Secretary
Eugene Hoyme, MD, Sioux Falls
Jennifer Irving, MPH, Rapid City
Gail Jamison, Sioux Falls
Lon Kightlinger, Ph.D., State Health Department Epidemiologist
Deb Kuehn, CNP, Rapid City
J.R. LaPlante, State Tribal Relations Secretary
Laurie Landeen, MD, Sioux Falls
Pam Locken, Isabel
Kimberlee McKay, MD, Sioux Falls
Cindy Morrison, Sioux Falls
Brad Randall, MD, Sioux Falls
Bonny Specker, PhD, Brookings
Dennis Stevens, MD, Sioux Falls
Lynne Valenti, State Deputy Secretary of Social Services
Antionette VanderPol, MD, Parkston
Dorinda (Dori) Vojta, CNM, CNP, Mobridge
Angel Wilson, CNP, Rosebud