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Michigan Makes Reducing Infant Mortality a Priority
Source Of Information:
ZERO TO THREE Policy Center state updates
Department of Community Health
The state of Michigan is taking steps to combat infant mortality and reduce disparities among racial and ethnic groups. For every 1,000 live births in Michigan, seven infants die before reaching their first birthday, a rate that is higher than the national average. The rate for African American babies is double—14 out of 1,000 die before they turn one. In response, Governor Rick Snyder identified reducing infant mortality as a public health priority. The Department of Community Health released an Infant Mortality Reduction Plan in August 2012 that outlines strategies and goals for 2012-2015. It was developed collaboratively with community, health care, academic, public health, and other maternal and child health stakeholders across the state.
The plan uses principles from the social ecological model recognizing the impact of the environment on individuals. It also builds on the life course, recognizing that throughout life there are important life stages that should be optimized for better health. Eight specific strategies are identified in the plan:
1. Implement a regional perinatal system
2. Promote adoption of policies to eliminate unnecessary deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation
3. Promote adoption of progesterone protocol for high-risk women
4. Promote safer sleeping practices to prevent suffocation
5. Expand home visiting programs to support vulnerable women and infants
6. Support better health status of women and girls a. Prevent and manage chronic conditions b. Integrate oral health promotion and treatment into the medical home c. Educate and build healthy living skills in students
7. Reduce unintended pregnancies a. Expand teen pregnancy prevention programs b. Promote reproductive planning for all childbearing aged adults as a component of primary care and promote access to reproductive health services as needed
8. Weave the social determinants of health (such as education, employment, nutrition, housing, and discrimination) into all targeted strategies to promote reduction of racial and ethnic disparities in infant mortality
The strategies contained in the Infant Mortality Reduction Plan build on new and existing partnerships, current program efforts, and new medical research. Implementation requires a collaborative approach among state, tribal, and local government; perinatal practitioners; hospital and health service providers; child care providers; schools and community organizations; and individuals and families. The state’s progress in reducing infant mortality will be publicly monitored on the Michigan Dashboard, an online data reporting tool used to provide a quick assessment of the state’s performance in key areas. It can be viewed at http://www.michigan.gov/midashboard.