New Executive Director Tackles County Infant Mortality Rate

[Bernadette Kerrigan / First Year Cleveland]
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Nearly a year after Cleveland and Cuyahoga County leaders agreed to form a collaborative focused on reducing the area’s infant mortality rate, First Year Cleveland hired a new executive director.  Bernadette Kerrigan has been on the job for less than two months.  She says they’re going through data to determine best strategies for bringing down the number of babies who die before their first birthday. 

One new program that’s shown some success, she says, is “centering pregnancy.”  Kerrigan spoke on 90.3’s the Sound of Ideas about the prenatal program that brings moms-to-be together for group discussions.

"From housing to breast feeding to issues that you’re thinking about what’s going on in your body that you want to talk to other women about," said Kerrigan. "It’s called 'centered pregnancy.'  Once the baby is born then you can go into centered parenting – learning from each other with a great facilitator that ensures that you have everything you need in a different learning environment."

From 2014-2015, the infant mortality rate in Cuyahoga County increased from 8.1 to 10.5 deaths per thousand births. 

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