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Maternal and Infant Health Summit

Scalable Support

The Situation
Reducing Maternal Deaths in the District

In 2017, the maternal death rate in DC was more than double the national average. In fact, 41 women died for every 100,000 live births in DC, and 75% of the deaths were African American women. Wanting to ensure all DC women were equipped and empowered to take control of their health, Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC developed a new maternal health initiative and summit.


It’s reported that many maternal deaths are related to existing chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension, and more than half of the deaths occur after giving birth.


Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Maternal and Infant Health Summit partnered with Octane to bring awareness to the summit and the racial disparities in maternal mortality in DC and across the nation. While the summit featured discussions on the best infant and maternal health practices and started important conversations about reducing death rates among women of color, Octane was charged with bringing attendees to the summit and helping extend the reach through social media the day of the event. This included a digital lounge to engage and empower attendees and social media followers.

Key Findings

• After childbirth is one of the most vulnerable stages of pregnancy
• Fear and the feeling of helplessness make it difficult for African American women to advocate for themselves and their unborn child
• Roots of discrimination and limited access stand in the way of African American women receiving needed medical care


• Increase the reach of and promote Mayor Muriel Bowser’s National Maternal and Infant Health Summit
• Inform health professionals and residents of DC’s wide variety of resources
• Empower DC women to advocate for their health and the health of their children

The Creative

To ensure authenticity, Octane recruited a variety of real women, mothers and their babies to be featured in campaign materials, including traditional and digital advertising, social media, toolkits, videos, fact sheets and more. Materials were spread throughout the district to promote the event. The message “Healthy Babies Start with Healthy Women” quickly became the underlying theme of the summit.

Octane created a strong web presence before and during the summit at and through Facebook and Twitter. The day of the summit, Octane provided social media support through live tweets, a social media wall, a behind the scenes Facebook Live and a digital lounge. Octane’s work proved effective with #DCMaternalHealth trending #1 locally on Twitter.

From event planning and implementation and community engagement to media buying and creating promotional items, Octane ensured all messaging and materials aligned with the summit’s overall strategy.

Summit information, resources for moms, educational material as well as videos from past summits all live under the Octane’s efforts garnered 9,500+ visits to website.

The Results

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s National Maternal and Infant Health Summit touches on vital topics of discussion around maternal health, infant health, and early education to connect the lessons learned and highlight opportunities for innovation and positive outcomes at both the national and local levels. The summit advances a frame-work to improve maternal and infant health, and in turn, lays the groundwork for healthy and happy mothers and future generations.

Summit ads

Virtual Summit 2020

Social Media Graphics

Messages about the summit throughout the District encouraged residents and local leaders to learn how they could help reduce maternal deaths in the DC.

Total Summit Views


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