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Healthcare Georgia Foundation Launches Infant Mortality Initiative

January 21, 2014

Healthcare Georgia Foundation today announced the launch of its new infant mortality program initiative, Taking Care of You. The program reflects the foundation’s mission of achieving health equity through targeted community interventions.

Building on a previous investment, this initiative will provide multi-year community-level funding, technical support and evaluation assistance for the purpose of achieving measureable reductions in adverse birth outcomes among high disparity populations, including but not limited to: low-birth weight, prematurity, and sudden unexpected infant death (SUID)/sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

 “High infant mortality and persistent racial disparities in birth outcomes have been highlighted for decades,” said Gary Nelson, Ph.D., president of the foundation and member of Georgia’s Board of Public Health.

Significant improvements have come about via advancing medical science, effective policies, technology and public health. However, Georgia consistently ranks much lower than the national average.

In 2006, Georgia ranked as the eighth worst state with an infant mortality rate (IMR) of 8.1 deaths per 1,000 live births; the U.S. national average IMR was 6.7. After reaching an all-time low IMR of 5.3 in 1999, Georgia’s IMR increased to 6.8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2011 and has remained about 20 percent higher than the national average. At any given time, African-American infants are two times more likely to die than white infants. In 2008 in Georgia, African Americans had an average IMR of 13.8 compared with an IMR of 7.3 per 1,000 live births for white infants.

Recipients of the awards (three-year grant awards, each totaling $450,000) include:

  • Clayton County Board of Health: Every Woman, Every Time Program
  • Lowndes County Board of Health: Baby Luv (Lowndes Unique Victories) Program
  • Southwest Public Health District: Centering Pregnancy Model of Care

In addition, the following grant awards were awarded as part of the Taking Care of You initiative:

  • Emory University School of Medicine: three-year award to conduct a cross-site evaluation of the Taking Care of You initiative
  • Porter Novelli: three-year support for a social marketing and outreach and education campaign for Taking Care of You