2021 Roadmap Deep Dive: Beyond effectiveness: How can state policy choices increase equity?


State policy and programmatic actions can lead to or reduce racial disparities.

Adopting and implementing the effective policies outlined in the Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap are steps in the right direction to strengthen equity in systems of care, starting with the earliest years. However, intentional steps are necessary to ensure state actions actually increase equity and reduce disparities for young children and their families.

Watch below to learn from national equity experts as well as state agency officials outlining their equity-focused work within prenatal-to-3-serving programs.

This event is part of the 2021 Prenatal-to-3 State Policy Roadmap Deep Dive Workshop series and was held on November 10, 2021.

Recording and Materials

Speakers: Equity and State Policy Choices

JOIA CREAR-PERRY, M.D., FACOG, Founder and Director, National Birth Equity Collaborative. Dr. Joia Crear-Perry is the founder and president of the National Birth Equity Collaborative. A speaker, trainer, advocate, policy expert, and thought leader around racism as a root cause of health inequities, Crear-Perry continues to expand her focus on maternal and child health nationally and internationally. She previously served as the executive director of the Birthing Project, director of Women’s and Children’s Services at Jefferson Community Healthcare Center and as the director of Clinical Services for the City of New Orleans Health Department. While in her position at the City of New Orleans Health Department, she was responsible for four facilities that provided health care for the homeless, pediatric, WIC, and gynecologic services within the New Orleans clinical service area. Crear-Perry is well-known for her work to remove race as a risk factor for illnesses such as premature births. Crear-Perry currently serves on the Advisory Committee of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Principal at Health Equity Cypher and on the board of trustees for Community Catalyst, National Medical Association and the UCSF PTBi. Crear-Perry received her bachelor’s trainings at Princeton University and Xavier University and completed her medical degree at Louisiana State University.

IHEOMA IRUKA, PH.D., Founding Director, Equity Research Action Coalition, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Research Professor of Public Policy, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Dr. Iheoma Iruka is the Founding Director of the Equity Research Action Coalition at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she also serves as a Research Professor. Prior to this role, she led research strategy at HighScope Educational Research Foundation, driving innovation in the field of early childhood education. Before joining HighScope, Iruka was the Director of Research and Evaluation at the Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska and also previously held the role of Associate Director at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute. Iruka’s research is centered on determining how early experiences impact poor and ethnic minority children’s learning and development and the role of the family and education environments and systems. Iruka earned a Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami. She holds an MA in psychology from Boston University and a BA in psychology from Temple University. She is a current member of several national boards and committees, including the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine committees on Supporting Parents of Young Children, and Applying Neurobiological and Socio-behavioral Sciences from Prenatal through Early Childhood Development: A Health Equity Approach, NC Child Care Commission, and the National Black Child Development Institute (NBCDI).

Speakers: State Perspectives

LISA ASARE, Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Family Health Services, New Jersey Department of Health. Lisa Asare is the Assistant Commissioner of the Division of Family Health Services in the New Jersey Department of Health. She has worked for the Department for 22 years. She oversees three service units which provide extensive public health services to NJ families promoting and protecting health. They include Maternal & Child Health, Special Child Health & Early Intervention Services, and the state WIC Program. In this capacity, she has led the Division’s work in addressing the social determinants of health through multi-sector collaborations and public-private partnerships, designed to address maternal and child health, and specifically black infant mortality and maternal mortality. She also works to address the COVID19 pandemic in vulnerable populations. She received a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Toronto and a Master’s in Public Health from the Rutgers School of Biomedical and Health Sciences, formerly the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the Rutgers School of Public Health, the President’s Award from the NJ Public Health Association and the 2021 YWCA Princeton Woman of Distinction award. 

LUPE JAIME MILEHAM, Ed.D., Deputy Director, Child Care and Development Division at California Department of Social Services. Dr. Maria Guadalupe “Lupe” Jaime-Mileham, was appointment by California Governor Newsom as the Deputy Director of the Child Care and Development Division (CCDD) at CA Department of Social Services. Previously, Lupe was the Senior Director for Early Care and Education at Fresno County Superintendent of Schools since 2014 and the Deputy Director at Central Valley Children’s Services Network for over 14 years where she administrated many of the programs transferred to the CCDD. Lupe earned a Doctor of Education degree from California State University Fresno in Educational Leadership, a Master of Education degree in Cross-Cultural Education, and a Child Development Director Permit. Most importantly, Lupe is proud parent of Alexus who is finishing up her Doctorate in Education focus on Infant and Toddler Language Development next year.

EMMA POSNER, Home Visiting Capacity and Systems Coordinator with the Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program. Emma Posner is Home Visiting Capacity and Systems Coordinator with the Massachusetts Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MA MIECHV) program, supporting the implementation of MA MIECHV’s evidence-based home visiting programs at the local level, and collaborating on home visiting program planning and development at the state level. She is also the State Leader for the Massachusetts Parents as Teachers (PAT) State Office. She received a BA in Sociology from Bates College and an MSPH in Population, Family, and Reproductive Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


State leaders can significantly increase the number of children eligible for child care subsidies across the country by expanding income eligibility thresholds. The level of income at which a family becomes initially eligible for child
Barriers to health care, high-quality health insurance, and parental leave work together to leave families and children vulnerable during the perinatal period. These barriers can shape life-long outcomes, particularly for children from historically marginalized groups.
The issue of inadequate child care in Middle Tennessee not only affects working families but also poses a critical barrier to economic growth and workforce diversity. A lack of available and affordable child care prevents