CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Over the past five years, 543 babies have died in Hamilton County, according to data collected by Cradle Cincinnati. That means for every 1,000 births in Cincinnati there have been 12.4 infant deaths - twice the national average.
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is trying to change that.
The hospital received a $3.5 million Healthy Start grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that will be used to help bring down that number.
"We are excited that the federal government has recognized our local efforts to reduce infant deaths," said Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, co-chair of Cradle Cincinnati. "The unacceptably high rate of infant deaths before the child's first birthday is a national tragedy and cannot be prevented without the help of the federal government."
According to Cincinnati Children's, the grant will allow the hospital to create a neighborhood-based resource team to identify women in need of services, connect women to existing services and provide timely access to medical help.
The team will also provide help for woman experiencing post-partum depression through Moving Beyond Depression.
"We plan to serve at least 500 women a year who live in Price Hill, North and South Fairmount and the Villages of Roll Hill," said Dr. Jim Greenberg, co-director of the Perinatal Institute at Cincinnati Children's. "This funding will support better health for mothers and their infants by providing neighborhood-based care coordination and expertise for women who live in these high-risk communities."
Between 2009 and 2013, the infant mortality rate in Hamilton County was 9.9 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to a national rate of 6.1. The four zip codes where this program will work (45204, 45205, 45214 and 45225) had a combined infant mortality rate of 15.8 deaths per live births.
The Health Resources and Services Administration will provide funding for nearly five years.