Infant Mortality Rates

Black Infant Mortality Rate Still Higher Than White Infants

Jul 28, 2015

State health leaders say their effort to bring down the infant mortality rate is working. But they still have a long way to go.

The number of infants that passed away in 2013 decreased by two-tenths of a percent compared to the previous year. But black infants are still dying at more than twice the rate of white infants.

State officials announce the rollout of the Centering Pregnancy program offering women a support network of prenatal care.
Jerry Kenney

  A health center in Dayton is one of four in Ohio selected to pilot a prenatal care program designed to lower the state’s infant mortality rate. Ohio ranks 47th in the nation for infant deaths, and 50th for African American populations.

State Senator Shannon Jones (R) calls the numbers abysmal.

“It’s really an indicator of how safe and healthy our women and children are in the state,” she said at a gathering to announce the program rollout.

Ohio’s infant mortality rate is dismal, near the bottom among all states. As the Ohio Department of Health this week holds a summit to focus attention on the problem, a children’s hospital in Central Ohio has turned to some adult medications to keep more premature infants alive.

In 2013, state lawmakers and health officials toured Ohio, gathering information about the state’s high infant mortality rate. On Wednesday, state senators introduced five new bills to combat the situation. 

Ohio has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation and Republican State Senator Shannon Jones of Springboro says a high infant death rate is a red flag. 

“A state's infant mortality rate is much like the canary that goes down into the coal mine," Jones said. "It’s an indicator of the overall health and wellness of mothers and children in the communities.” 

Jerry Kenney

Dayton Children’s Hospital and Public Health - Dayton & Montgomery County both hosted events Thursday centered around Ohio’s high infant mortality rate.  Ohio has one of the highest rates of infant deaths in the country. Health officials and politicians alike want that to change. 

During a two-hour session at Children’s Hospital, about 40 healthcare professionals and state legislators discussed some of the reasons for high infant deaths in the state. 

Roundtable discussions on infant mortality rates continue in Dayton Thursday, and members of the Ohio Senate, public health officials and health professionals in Dayton will gather with a common purpose in mind – to lower infant death rates in Ohio.

According to officials at Dayton Children’s Hospital, in Montgomery County one infant dies every 4-6 weeks.

It’s a statewide problem. Ohio has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. 

Members of the Ohio Senate Committee on Medicaid, Health, and Human Services and other health professionals from around the state will be in Cincinnati Thursday to discuss how to improve Ohio’s infant mortality rate.