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Study Highlights Local Program Combating Infant Mortality


The latest data shows Franklin County has an infant mortality rate of 7.6 per 1000 live births. And African-American babies die at more than twice the rate of white infants. The City of Columbus has made an effort to cut those numbers, and a new study highlights one program making a difference. Mike Foley explains.

Results of a recent study published online in Maternal Child Health Journal found a significant growth in the health of mothers and infants thanks to the Moms2B program. Academic health care providers along with civic and public health leaders designed a weekly, two-hour group intervention curriculum to improve birth outcomes in Weinland Park, one of the city’s high-risk neighborhoods for infant mortality. They provided nearly 200 pregnant women with a variety of social and medical support, including mental health, nutrition and infant safety information. According to the study, most of the women taking part in the program were African American with low incomes and significant medical and social stressors. In a four-year period before the program, the neighborhood had an infant mortality rate of 14.2/1000. But in the first four years after the Moms2B sessions, the rate improved to 2.9. Moms2B founder and Ohio State infant mortality researcher Dr. Patricia Gabbe says the six-month, Moms2B program has expanded to three more locations, and researchers are seeing a decrease in smoking and preterm births. Columbus and Franklin County want to reduce the region's infant mortality rate by 40 percent and cut the racial disparity in half by the year 2020.

Mike Foley joined WCBE in February 2000, coming from WUFT in Gainesville, Florida. He earned Broadcasting and Journalism degrees from the University of Florida.
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