COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health, in partnership with the Governor's Children's Initiative, has awarded $5 million to 44 different community and faith-based organizations in an attempt to improve support for pregnant women and new parents in Ohio, Gov. Mike DeWine announced on Friday.
With the funding, the state aims to improve infant and maternal health outcomes by addressing gaps in existing systems.
In both 2018 and 2019, Ohio's infant mortality rate was 6.9 per 1,000 live births. The state aims to reduce that number to 6.0 or fewer infant death per 1,000 live births.
Cleveland's infant mortality rates are among the highest in the United States and largely reflect racial disparities—for every one white infant who died in Cleveland, nearly six Black infants died.
"We know that Black women specifically are more likely to be at risk for maternal mortality," said India Robertson, Chief Training & Org. Dev. Officer of Birthing Beautiful Communities. "So we want to make sure that those people who are at highest risk are connected with the services that they need."
Birthing Beautiful Communities was awarded $250,000 of the funding to provide and expand prenatal physical and social support services for Black and postpartum mothers and their families.
Additionally, nearly $100,000 of the funding was awarded to Ohio Guidestone to provide mental health services and support to future and new fathers. Pregnancy Choices was awarded $150,000 to establish new programs for pregnant women, new mothers, fathers and families.
Across Ohio, 44 organizations in 42 counties received funding for programs beginning on Jan. 1, 2022.
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