Cincinnati Children’s, Every Child Succeeds and TriHealth will share a $3.2 million grant from Bethesda Inc. that seeks to reduce our region’s high rates of premature births and infant mortality.

“The need is urgent,” says James Pearce, Bethesda Inc. board chairman. “Hamilton County has an infant mortality rate more than 60 percent higher than the national average. We believe this innovative approach, in conjunction with other programs to reduce infant mortality now underway in the county and statewide, can result in healthier babies."

“Babies at the greatest risk of dying are those born the earliest – the tiny, tiny babies,” says Jim Greenberg, MD, co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children’s. “If we can extend the time of their birth by just a week, it makes a big difference.”

The plan, now being developed, seeks to transform how women and infants receive health and social care – with guidance and participation by moms and families. The goal is to break down barriers that keep pregnant women and new moms from getting needed care.

“Our work will be developed hand-in-hand with moms,” said Judith Van Ginkel, president of Every Child Succeeds. “Their voices and needs are the driving force in the program. Our vision is to create a seamless, community-based system for pregnant women and infants to receive health and social care.”

The program will address unmet community needs through:

  • Better identification and screening of pregnant women with higher risk for premature birth. 
  • Using research to map moms’ journeys from pregnancy through the first six months of their babies’ lives. 
  • Linking previously unconnected health and social services. 

“The more we set aside our assumptions, the better we can encourage moms to be frank with us,” says Michael Marcotte, MD, maternal fetal medicine specialist at TriHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital. “So often in health care, the health care team decides. Now, we’re creating a much more trusting environment for women and families, where we listen first to what they want and what they believe will work for them.”