Seeking healthier outcomes for Hoosiers
Each summer, state lawmakers use the interim to prepare for the next legislative session. Summer study committees are integral to the legislative process and provide opportunities for lawmakers to address and closely examine a variety of issues impacting the state.
As a member of the Interim Study Committee on Public Health, Behavioral Health and Human Services, I will use my experience as a pharmacist as our committee dives into the state’s OB Navigator program and laws and regulations related to smoking.
Indiana’s OB Navigator program is a collaboration between the Dept. of Health, the Family and Social Services Administration and the Dept. of Child Services. Established through a law I supported in 2019, it expands local programs relating to perinatal care to help reduce the infant mortality rate in the highest-risk areas of the state. Mothers are connected to free, one-on-one support during pregnancy and after their baby arrives.
With this initiative and our successful Safety PIN program, Indiana reached a record-low infant mortality rate last year for the first time in the state’s history. This summer we will look at the results from the program and see if there are constructive improvements or changes that can be offered.
Our committee will also examine Indiana’s laws and regulations on smoking. According to America’s Health Rankings, 19.2% of Hoosiers reported smoking at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime and currently smoke daily or some days, which ranks us 41st in the nation.
This session we passed legislation to establish a new $50 million public health grant program to help the state be more strategic in addressing public health concerns like our smoking rate, and we will continue looking for solutions to encourage Hoosiers to pursue healthier lifestyles.
The COVID-19 pandemic shined a spotlight on Indiana’s overall health, with the virus devastatingly affecting those with underlying health conditions. In Indiana, we recognize that in order to save and protect lives, we need to focus our attention on addressing our serious health challenges.
As committee members begin to meet at the Statehouse to study these important issues, please reach out to me with input at [email protected] or 1-317-232-9850.
A full list of assigned topics lawmakers will be studying during this summer, as well as committee calendars, agendas and links to live hearings can be found online at iga.in.gov.
Editor’s note: State Rep. Steve Davisson, R-Salem, represents House District 73, which includes Washington County and portions of Harrison, Orange, Clark, Jackson and Lawrence counties.