Nine Montgomery County projects aimed at reducing infant mortality will receive more than $1.7 million combined from the Ohio Department of Medicaid.
The community initiatives, which range from housing counseling to support groups for boyfriends and husbands, will deal with high-risk women who are pregnant in the county, where the infant mortality rate is 6.9 percent, according to Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County.
Montgomery ranked sixth among the state’s 88 counties in the number of infant deaths in 2014, according to in the Ohio Department of Health.
In that year, Montgomery County had 40 children die before their first birthday, trailing only Franklin (158), Cuyahoga (122), Hamilton (97), Lucas (53) and Summit (44) counties, according the ODH.
“Addressing infant mortality is the key long-term indicator for birth outcomes as well as for overall community health and well-being, according to Terra Williams, director of health promotion for Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County.
The county’s funding request focuses on the Birth Outcomes work plan goals established in the county Community Health Improvement Plan, she stated.
“This community partnership will take significant steps in reducing infant mortality in Montgomery County with emphasis on deceasing the black infant mortality rate in the target areas by 10 percent,” according to Williams.
While current data was not available the infant mortality rate among blacks in the county in recent years has been far higher, officials have said. Statewide, black babies are more than 2.5 times more likely to die than white babies, according to public health.
In Montgomery County, a program to increase home visits for pregnant women in targeted communities through partnerships will receive more than a third of the local funds. Five Rivers Health Centers, Help Me Grow Brighter Futures, Southview and the Wesley Community Center will divide $654,928.
Another $501,340 will go to extend the Five Rivers’ Healthy Start Program to all its patients and focus on the most high-risk communities while $216,400 will fund physician offices and social services agencies referring prenatal patients to housing counselors based on housing need assessments, according to public health.
Other area programs getting funds include: Catholic Social Services of Miami Valley; Samaritan Centers for Women’s Centering Pregnancy; and West Dayton Health Promotion Partnership.
Montgomery County funding breakdown
• $654,928: Home visiting will be increased for pregnant women in targeted communities through partnerships with Five Rivers Health Centers, Help Me Grow Brighter Futures, Southview, and the Wesley Community Center.
• $501,340: The Five Rivers Health Centers Healthy Start Program will be extended to all patients of the Five Rivers Center for Women’s Health and focus on the most high-risk communities.
• $216,400: Participating physician offices and social services agencies will refer prenatal patients to housing counselors based on housing need assessments.
• $145,274: The Catholic Social Services of Miami Valley will expand Nurturing Parenting Program services to high-risk communities.
• $40,000: The services provided by LifeStages, Samaritan Centers for Women’s Centering Pregnancy program, will be enhanced.
• $20,000: Screening, Brief Interventions, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) trainings will be provided at no charge for area health care providers, community health workers, home visiting nurses, social workers, and others in contact with pregnant women in high-risk communities.
• $18,196: Five Rivers Health Centers will work with the Montgomery County Department of Job and Family Services fatherhood initiative, the Public Health Fatherhood Initiative and Urban Light Ministries to create a fatherhood program and provide fatherhood education for dads-to-be in high-risk communities.
Through the West Dayton Health Promotion Partnership, Ohio Medicaid awarded funding to support the following proposals:
• $80,000: A support group will be created for the boyfriends and husbands of pregnant women, specifically younger men, in high-risk communities. The support group will meet bi-monthly and, additionally, a manhood boot camp will be available quarterly.
• $39,000: The faith-based community will train ministry leadership to identify at-risk women and men and promote the programs and services of the West Dayton Health Promotion Partnership in order to reduce stressors and promote mental health and overall wellbeing.
SOURCE: Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County