If a baby dies before his or her’s first birthday it contributes to the
infant mortality rate. The Indiana State Department of Health reports that Indiana has one of the highest infant mortality rates (IMR) in the country being 8th in the nation. The Wabash Valley, additionally, has one of the highest in the state having an IMR of 8.0 in 2014 and 8.9 in 2011. The U.S. average is 5.9 and the Healthy People 2020 campaign has a goal of 6.0. In an effort to address this crisis ISDH awarded $12.9 million in competitive grants to hospitals, health care groups, and nonprofit organizations for projects designed to reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate. Lugar Center and Union Hospital were one of ten entities to receive funds through the Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) program. Union Hospital delivers almost 2,000 live births a year making it easily the Wabash Valley's leader.
As part of the program Union Hospital’s Perinatal Nurse Navigators (PNNs) are working on targeting women and babies who are at-risk for infant mortality and providing proper education and linking them up with available resources. PNNs have already started seeing patients prenatally and post-partum and continue to educate and collaborate with partners in order to decrease Indiana’s infant mortality rate. The PNNs have talked to pregnant women at Crisis Pregnancy Center classes and will be highlighted at the upcoming Labor of Love Summit in Indianapolis. To learn more about what Indiana is doing to combat Infant mortality visit the ISDH Labor of Love website at www.laboroflove.in.gov.