Alabama has long had one of the nation's highest death rates for infants. Gov. Guy Hunt and state health officials launched a similar program during the early 1990s called "Healthy Beginnings," but it faded after Hunt's administration.
Williamson recalled that program, but said he expects "State of Champions" to stick around because people now have a better understanding of how healthy children are vital to the state's economic success.
He said the state Department of Public Health is allocating $2.5 million to the program this year and hopes to get the governor and Legislature to provide $4 million for next year.