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Grant awarded to help reduce Licking County’s infant mortality rate

04/04/2016 LICKING COUNTY, OHIO – The Licking County Foundation, through a grant from the William E. and Annie S. Miller Memorial Fund, recently awarded the Licking County Health Department (LCHD) $29,955 to support LCHD’s Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative (IMRI). The initiative will create a Newborn Home Visitation Program, expand the Child Passenger Safety program and increase LCHD’s safe sleep education for families and childcare facilities.

This initiative focuses on several programs offered by the Health Department in an effort to lower the infant mortality rate in Licking County. Infant mortality is defined as any child who dies prior to their first birthday. In 2015 there were 12 Licking County infant deaths, for a rate of 6.4 per 1,000 live births. While the leading cause of infant mortality is prematurity, the leading causes of infant deaths after 28 days are sleep related. “Health department staff are thrilled to have the ability to create the opportunity for free newborn home visits and expand pre-existing programs for our Licking County families,” says Community and Personal Health Director Kari Kennedy.

Through the Newborn Home Visitation Program, registered nurses will work with families answer questions and to ensure a safe sleep environment for newborns by providing newborn nursing assessments, education, and referrals to additional community resources. The Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative will also expand the capacity of the Child Passenger Safety Program by doubling the amount of car seats and educational opportunities available to community members. Safe sleep training efforts will also be increased, with more childcare facilities being trained in current safe sleep practices.Additionally, families can receive a safe sleep demonstration and pack-and-play crib if eligible.

Licking County Health Commissioner, Joe Ebel, added, “LCHD’s goal is to continuously improve the health of the community through programs such as the IMRI and by working with our community partners on the Licking County Infant Mortality Task Force. This initiative builds on the Task Force’s efforts to reduce infant mortality, including tobacco prevention and cessation, access to prenatal care, breastfeeding support, Help Me Grow and Early Head Start home visits, and women’s health initiatives.”

Grants from organizations such as the Licking County Foundation allow the Licking County Health Department to expand resources to local families with newborns and infants.

For more information about how to participate in any of the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative’s activities, contact Kari Kennedy at (740) 349-6492 or kkennedy@lickingcohealth.org.
“The Licking County Health Department serves more than 160,000 citizens in the Licking County General Health District by preventing disease, protecting the environment and promoting healthy lifestyles with a vision of healthy people living in healthy communities.”
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