News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Area Agency on Aging 10B, Inc.

Northeast Ohio Medical University

The Holden Arboretum

For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine

Canton tries to figure out the role of racism in infant deaths
The city and Ohio launch a three-year effort to study why Ohio's infant mortality rate is among the worst in the nation

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Canton Health Commissioner Jim Adams says the study of infant mortality will range from institutional racism to person-to-person support.
Courtesy of Canton Health Department
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio is now 48th in the nation in infant mortality, 49th when it comes in African-American babies.  And a new national, state and local effort to change that is underway. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with Canton Health Commissioner Jim Adams about the effort to inventory programs now in place and see where they can go in the next three years.

LISTEN: A Q and A with Jim Adams

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:22)

By city standards, it’s a pretty small investment. By health officials’ measures, it’s potentially huge.

Canton City Council OK’d a $20,000 contract with a national group to work with a local group to figure out why so many babies – especially in Ohio’s urban areas – are dying. The Ohio rate is 7.7 deaths for every 1,000  births. And Jim Adams says there’s a lot of human pain in those numbers.

The really sad part about the rates is that while, generally national rates are improving, in Ohio that trend is actually getting worse. … But the real tragedy of the story is the disparity of birth outcomes between white children and African-American children. In Stark County, African-American babies are dying at a rate almost three times more often than white babies.”

Big issues and closer to home
He says the reasons may include the obvious: poverty, education, health care. But the focus of the project is to dig deeper to potential root causes within the Stark community.

“There are some suggestions that unless a community really examines the role that racism plays in their community in setting up these biases that we’re never really going to improve these rates.”

Adams acknowledges that three years in a health study is not very long. But three years in a mother and child’s life is huge. So the community is trying to address short-term, as well as long-term solutions.

“We’re going to be challenged to look at things like poverty, jobs, economics. … But we’re going to have to start doing something (before the end of the study) if we’re going to make some long-term, lasting improvement in the community.”

That includes supporting projects such as “centering pregnancy,” in which a group of women schedule their prenatal visits together and will likely continue their informal support group after their children are born.

The state of Ohio has set up the Ohio Equity Institute to work with nine urban areas to reduce infant mortality. The contract Canton council approved with the National Organization for Urban Maternal and Child Health Leaders, which will provide training and consultation  for the project.

Adams notes that the only state with a worse mortality rate than Ohio for African-American babies is Indiana.

Listener Comments:

I live in Canton and was appalled at the statistics quoted by our Health Commissioner. How in the world are we living in the 21st century and still seeing this shocking disparity in the mortality rates between african american babies and white babies? On this day as we are remember Dr. Martin Luther King's"I Have a Dream" speech we realize that this country still has a long way to go to reach the dream of equality for all of it's citizens.

Posted by: Anne DeGraffinreed (Canton Ohio) on August 29, 2013 12:08PM
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Charter reform bill includes controversial change for some teachers
I work for a former White Hat charter school; it was sold to another (for-profit) company this past summer and we were told that they would not pay into STRS/PE...

Bhutanese resettlement has had a big economic impact
Informative especially for nonmembers of North Hill. I appreciate the fact that you mention that the younger generation has an easier time than the elders but t...

Ottawa County Commissioner sworn in as new house member
Congratulations on your new appointment to the Ohio House. I'm certain you will do an outstanding job in your new role representing our district. When you have...

Holden Arboretum opens a new canopy walk and emergent tower
Visited the Holden Arboretum today to witness the incredible work you did constructing the tower and bridges.WOW! Very impressed. Knew the build had to be great...

Local club works to bring back the once-prevalent American elm
I would love to help! Where would I get some of the new Strain so I could plant them?

Four Geauga school districts consider consolidating on the Kent State campus
Berkshire was smart to merge with Ledgemont because it had shrinking enrollment and excess capacity at its high school. Now that Cardinal is dragging its feet ...

Ohio Rep. John Boccieri sworn into office and hopes to look for 'middle ground' with colleagues
Welcome back to the Statehouse, John. You are a terrific representative in the truest sense always representing the people's voice in teh district you serve. ...

Lawmakers call for indefinite freeze on Green Energy standards
It's a shame the Hudson Rep. Chooses to mimic the words of the extreme right senator on his way out to join ALEC when we know the Pope was just here because of...

Youngstown Schools file suit against the Ohio Department of Education to stop the implementation of an academic distress commission
Voters should ask WHY this plan was rushed into law under the cover of darkness. What clues point to the beneficiaries of this plan? Both Patrick O'Donnell of...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University