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TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) -
The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department is getting money to help learn more about local infant mortality rates.
The health department received a $15,000 grant from the CareSource Foundation to go towards the Getting to One initiative, which aims to lower infant mortality rates in Lucas County.
According to the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department:
-Ohio ranks 47th in overall infant mortality
-In Lucas County between 2008 and 2012, that rate was nearly 7 out of 1,000 live births, compared to more than 10 per 1,000 for African-American babies.
The money from CareSource will go towards a new three-year effort to evaluate health issues related to infant mortality and assess current programs to identify gaps in service. Then, "upstream and downstream" approaches will be implemented, looking at health issues before a mother gets pregnant and after a child is born.
"The major factors we'll be looking at for our community are low birth weight, prematurity. These are leading factors in infant mortality. We'll be looking at that data. This will be a data-driven project," explained April Snelling with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.
"We're 49th in African-American infant mortality, so there ain't much below us. Looking at it that way, this is an area that obviously raises some concerns," said Dr. David Grossman, Toledo-Lucas County Health Commissioner.
Grossman estimates they'll need about $20,000 per year for the Getting to One initiative. He hopes raising public awareness about the issue will attract even more financial support for the cause.