Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box highlighted the state’s decreasing infant mortality rates at this month’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children meeting. Despite recent improvements, minority communities across the state still remain most vulnerable.
Box said there’s still work to be done when it comes to lowering Indiana’s infant mortality rate, but the plan laid out to address known issues that contribute to that high rate is expected to garner results. She said reaching out to minority communities remains key in lowering numbers.
“The team is really excited to see that we are actually reaching the populations that we are targeting and wanting to make sure that we connect with,” she said.
Box said one of the ways the state hopes to connect with mothers across the state is by changing the name of the OB Navigator Program to the My Healthy Baby program.
It aims to connect pregnant women covered by Medicaid to resources in their communities. OB Navigator helps guide and support women through pregnancy and through the baby's first six to 12 months. The program will be available in 22 counties by the end of the year, and another 25 counties are expected to be added by the end of 2021.
Box said the state is also working on extending maternal postpartum care, especially for mothers with substance use disorders and mental health issues. She said the state’s Perinatal Levels of Care Program, has also played a role in helping Indiana see lower numbers.
The health commissioner said Indiana’s infant mortality rate is currently the lowest it’s been since the state started recording the data in the 1900s. Black babies have the highest rates of infant mortality in the state, and are currently at the lowest rate in 10 years.