New Initiative to Battle Infant Mortality with Grant from Ohio Medicaid

In Cleveland, the infant mortality rate remains much higher than the national average. (Image: Shutterstock / Martin Valigursky)
In Cleveland, the infant mortality rate remains much higher than the national average. (Image: Shutterstock / Martin Valigursky)
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Part of First Year Cleveland’s 3-year plan to battle infant mortality is being rolled out this month. It includes a $100,000 grant from Ohio Medicaid to help educate women about safe sleeping patterns for babies.

The grant money will be used to begin education services at various churches, as well as home visits in the community, says Bernadette Kerrigan, executive director for First Year Cleveland.

"We are going to execute a very robust disciplined campaign to ensure that families have everything they need so their babies are put properly to sleep and so we no longer have preventable sleep-related deaths," Kerrigan said.

Kerrigan notes another large aspect of the plan will involve gathering more data about the causes of infant mortality, which include the stress of racism. The plan also aims to focus on reducing racial disparities in infant mortality rates and preventing premature deaths. In Ohio, black infants died at three times the rate as white infants, according to 2015 statistics from the Ohio Department of Health.

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