Mount Carmel is joining forces with the city of Columbus and other healthcare, community and business organizations in an effort to curb infant mortality in central Ohio.
Columbus City Council President Andrew J. Ginther announced on November 18 the creation of an Infant Mortality Task Force. Claus von Zychlin, president and CEO of Mount Carmel Health System is a member of this newly-formed task force. The group is charged with developing a community plan with a goal of cutting Columbus’ infant morality rate by nearly 40 percent.
The state of Ohio (48th out of 50 states), Franklin County (71st out of 88 Ohio counties and the city of Columbus (36th out of the 50 largest U.S. cities) rank near the bottom in infant mortality, which is defined as death of child under the age of one.
According to Columbus Public Health, “three to four babies die each week in Franklin County and the infant mortality rate in Franklin County for 2013 is as high as the national rate from the early 1990s.” The infant mortality rate for black babies is two-and-a-half times that of white babies in Franklin County. The task force will hold its first meeting in January 2014 and continue through mid-2014 culminating in the community plan.
Mount Carmel currently has many initiatives aimed at reducing infant mortality, including the Welcome Home Program. This program provides a wellness check at home for mothers and babies delivered at Mount Carmel. Funded by the Mount Carmel Foundation, the Welcome Home Program provides more than 1300 RN home visits every year. The program provides education on safe spacing and safe sleeping to moms, breast feeding support and post partum depression screenings, among other services.