Indiana has a higher infant mortality rate than the national average. A summit in Indianapolis focused on moves being made to improve outcomes for infants in Indiana.
This is the second year for the event organized by Community Health Network. Indiana State Department of Health Commissioner Kris Box says these types of gatherings are key to a deeper understanding of the issue.
"To sit down and talk about how we can really address this in our communities," says Box.
Box joined hospital leaders, community health workers and state lawmakers to talk about perinatal care, safe sleep, tobacco use and other factors that contribute to infant mortality.
Community Health Network Dr. Indy Lane says providers also need to be more aware of each individual woman’s needs.
"We aren’t trained in cultural competence and implicit bias, although I think that would be helpful as we look at the disparities," says Lane.
The black infant mortality rate is more than twice that of white infants in Indiana.
Lane says many mothers-to-be don’t get the care they need.
"We have to create an environment where women can come and they can be honest about what their barriers are to care, whether it’s food insecurity, whether it’s transportation, whether it’s substance use," says Lane.
In the past year, Indiana has adopted a number of measures to address infant mortality including the establishment of a state perinatal program to connect more women with health workers in their community.