Coalition Aims to Reduce Cuyahoga County Infant Mortality Rate

Cleveland City Council President Kevin Kelley [ photo: Kay Colby / ideastream ]
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Government, foundation and health care systems joined together today to announce a new effort called “First Year Cleveland” to combat the high rate of infant deaths in Cuyahoga County.

Cleveland ranks as one of the cities with the highest rates of infant mortality in the country.  Dr. Arthur James from The Ohio State University worked as a consultant on the initiative.  He says the problem is most pronounced among communities of color and can’t be solved without looking at various social issues including poverty.

"About 39% of all births in Cuyahoga County are black.  About 70% -- just under 70% -- of all the babies who die in Cuyahoga County are black.  So we have this disparity and that’s been business as usual in Cuyahoga County for way too long."

At Wednesday’s event, the group signed a community covenant – agreeing to work together to come up with a plan of attack for what they call unacceptable high rates of infant mortality. They hope to appoint a director for the initiative in early 2016.

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