Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

Governor's Task Force on Infant Mortality

Message from the First Lady

I am truly honored to be chairing the Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality. One of my greatest joys in life has been being a mother and watching my children grow. As a former teacher and librarian, I have a deep commitment to the health and well-being of all South Dakota children.

As Dennis and I have traveled across the state, we hear about budgets and roads. We also hear about issues facing children and families. Unfortunately, we are losing too many babies before they reach their first birthday – about 79 infant deaths a year. The Governor has made it a priority to reach out to the best experts in South Dakota to develop strategies to address this problem.

As one of my initiatives as First Lady, I am eager to lend my support to help protect our state’s most precious resource – our children. We already know many of the factors that contribute to infant deaths. Too many mothers use tobacco when pregnant, not enough mothers receive prenatal care in the first trimester, and more families need to learn about the importance of safe sleep positions. I want to help reinforce the same message from health professionals about healthy pregnancies – but on a more personal level.

This is a complex issue but I am confident that with the expertise of the members of the Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality, we can improve birth outcomes and help more South Dakota babies reach their first birthday.


Linda Daugaard
December 2011

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