Cincinnati Children’s Earns $3.5 Million Federal Grant to Reduce Infant Mortality in Partnership with Cradle Cincinnati

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has received a $3.5 million Healthy Start grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) to help reduce high infant mortality rates in the Cincinnati area.

The Healthy Start program is managed by HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Healthy Start began in 1991 but has been redesigned to use evidence-based strategies to improve program performance. This is the first time the Cincinnati region has been awarded a grant, due in part to new levels of collaboration developed by Cradle Cincinnati, a comprehensive partnership to reduce infant mortality in Hamilton County.

“We are excited that the federal government has recognized our local efforts to reduce infant deaths,” says Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, co-chair of Cradle Cincinnati. “The unacceptably high rate of infant deaths before the child’s first birthday is a national tragedy and cannot be prevented without the help of the federal government. We’ve been told very clearly that a key reason Cincinnati Children’s was awarded this grant was the recent and unprecedented level of partnership around this issue under the banner of Cradle Cincinnati. This award means that the Department of Health and Human Services is joining the City, the County, local health systems, the United Way, The Center for Closing the Health Gap, Interact for Health, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and many other partners in demanding an end to this tragedy.”

The grant will help Cincinnati Children’s create a neighborhood-based resource team to identify women in need of services, connect women to existing services, and provide timely access to social and medical expertise for community health workers, home visitors and social service agency providers. The team will also offer support for women experiencing post-partum depression through Moving Beyond Depression, a home-visitation program developed by Every Child Succeeds.

“We plan to serve at least 500 women a year who live in Price Hill, North and South Fairmount and the Villages at Roll Hill (formerly known as the Fay Apartments),” says Jim Greenberg, MD, co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s. “This funding will support better health for mothers and their infants by providing neighborhood-based care coordination and expertise for women who live in these high-risk communities.”

“I am optimistic that this grant can be a difference maker for our community, adds Cincinnati City Councilmember Wendell Young, co-chair of Cradle Cincinnati. “This work will focus on the Cincinnati neighborhoods with some of the worst birth outcomes. Organizations already doing good work in these neighborhoods will now have a new team of social service support to assist them in providing comprehensive care for pregnant moms.”

Between 2009 and 2013, the infant mortality rate in Hamilton County was 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to a national rate of 6.1. The four zip codes where this work will focus (45204, 45205, 45214, 45225) had a combined 2009-2013 infant mortality rate of 15.8 deaths per 1,000 live births.

“The reasons for these poor outcomes are complex, but we know that a variety of social factors related to poverty play key roles,” says Dr. Greenberg. “We believe a neighborhood resource team can increase the effectiveness of current investments in maternal and child health.”

The HRSA grant will provide funding for nearly five years.

About Cincinnati Children’s

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center ranks third in the nation among all Honor Roll hospitals in U.S.News & World Report’s 2014 Best Children’s Hospitals. It is also ranked in the top 10 for all 10 pediatric specialties. Cincinnati Children’s, a non-profit organization, is one of the top three recipients of pediatric research grants from the National Institutes of Health, and a research and teaching affiliate of the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. The medical center is internationally recognized for improving child health and transforming delivery of care through fully integrated, globally recognized research, education and innovation. Additional information can be found at Connect on the Cincinnati Children’s blog, via Facebook and on Twitter.

Contact Information

Jim Feuer