Babies are Dying. Here’s What the ISDH is Doing to Stop It.

Babies are Dying. Here’s What the ISDH is Doing to Stop It.

The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced it has awarded $12.9 million in competitive grants to hospitals, healthcare groups and nonprofit organizations for projects designed to help reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate.

Ten entities will receive funding through the state’s Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) grant program. Lawmakers appropriated a total of $13.5 million for grants and development of a mobile application designed to help connect pregnant women with resources and reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate.

A total of 31 entities applied for the Safety PIN grants. Applications were evaluated on a number of criteria, which included innovation, community partnerships and geographical location. Projects chosen to move forward include ones focused on safe sleep practices, prenatal care, smoking cessation, one-on-one home visiting and key demographic groups with higher infant mortality rates, such as teenagers and African-American and Hispanic women.

“Every child in Indiana deserves the chance to grow up, and we are heartened by the interest in the Safety PIN grants,” said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. “We are confident that these grants will create new opportunities to help women have healthy pregnancies and give their children the best start in life possible.”

Recipients of the Safety PIN grants are:

  • Aspire Indiana Health, serving Madison County
  • Community Hospital Anderson
  • Community Wellness Partners’ “Speak Life: Here to Stay” initiative, serving St. Joseph County
  • Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana
  • Greene County General Hospital
  • Indiana Hospital Association
  • IU WeCare Plus, serving central and eastern Indiana
  • Mental Health America of Lake County
  • One Community One Family, serving Franklin County
  • Union Hospital, serving Vigo County

ISDH also has contracted with Indianapolis-based technology solutions company eimagine to create and implement a pregnancy assistance mobile application. The application will aim to empower pregnant women to seek and receive early prenatal care, provide educational content about pregnancy, guide women to the appropriate resources and connect community and medical providers directly with pregnant women. A lack of prenatal care is a key contributor to preterm births and infant mortality in Indiana.

“We are excited to be working alongside the state of Indiana and the Department of Health to make a significant and positive impact on the community,” said Joel Russell, founder and chief executive officer at eimagine.

Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. The most common causes of infant mortality are serious birth defects, preterm birth, low birthweight, sudden unexpected infant death syndrome, unintentional injuries and maternal complications of pregnancy. In 2014, the last year for which completed data are available, 597 Indiana children died before the age of one. A disproportionate number of those children were African-American or Hispanic.

ISDH’s top priority is to reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate. The agency has created a plan to reduce Indiana’s rate by focusing on key areas, including decreasing the number of elective deliveries in counties with the highest risks, decreasing the number of infant suffocation deaths by promoting safe sleep practices, ensuring pregnant women receive prenatal care and decreasing smoking rates among pregnant women.

To learn more about how you can help reduce Indiana’s infant mortality rate, visit the ISDH Labor of Love website at