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Cleveland Clinic Akron General Brings Infant Mortality Prevention to Akron Neighborhoods

photo of Cleveland Clinic Akron General Health & Wellness Express
Dr. Jennifer Savitski (second from right) with Sue Hobson (left), Director of Community Relations for Cleveland Clinic Akron General, Michael Cassel, coordinator for the Health & Wellness Express, and Veronica Savitski.

Cleveland Clinic Akron General’s mobile unit will be making several stops in Akron this summer to promote healthy pregnancies.

The Health & Wellness Express is a large RV with three examination areas inside. The unit kicked off a series of summer events yesterday at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church near downtown. Dr. Jennifer Savitski, Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, says the goal is to educate and provide services to people in neighborhoods that have high infant mortality rates. She says it’s often a case of offering better advice than what expectant mothers may already be hearing. One example is the use of progesterone, which can help decrease the risk of premature birth for women who had previously delivered early.

“The problem is that a lot of people think pregnant women shouldn’t use medications during pregnancy. And so family members might say, ‘oh no, you shouldn’t do that – it’s not healthy.’ But in reality we know that it is healthy. It’s very beneficial. But we have to start giving the woman the progesterone early in the pregnancy. So that’s probably the biggest message that we’re trying to get out.

“We really want to get the word out that we’re partnering with the community. That we can provide care even not only within our doors of the hospital. But also come out to the community and provide care where the patients are.”

Savitski adds that in Summit County, some of the main topics of discussion are progesterone treatment, as well as safe sleep practices and increasing the intervals between pregnancies to at least 18 months.

A list of this summer’s stops in Akron for the Health & Wellness Express is below:

June 13, 12:30 p.m.-2 p.m.: Mom-ME Time (AMHA Joy Park Homes, 524 Fuller St.)

June 19, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.: Dave's Supermarket (871 E. Exchange St.)

June 27, 5:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.: Mom-ME Time (AMHA Joy Park Homes, 524 Fuller St.)

July 15: House of the Lord (1650 Diagonal Road)

August 10: Zion Temple (515 Ardella Ave.)

Kabir Bhatia is a senior reporter for Ideastream Public Media's arts & culture team.