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Health & Science

Akron's Plan To Reduce Infant Mortality Focuses On Structural Racism

African American babies in Akron die before their first birthday at double the rate of white babies. Public health advocates gathered Tuesday at the third annual Health Equity Summit to address the disparity.

Akron’s infant mortality initiative, called Full Term First Birthday, announced its three-year strategic plan at the meeting. It will focus on reducing premature births, educating the community, and targeting structural racism, though there were few specifics on how this will be accomplished.

One organization with a track record of helping support pregnant women in Cleveland, shared its plans to expand into Akron this May. Birthing Beautiful Communities trains doulas from the communities where they’ll serve. Founder Christin Farmer says their focus is on addressing chronic stress and trauma caused by racism.

Their goal is to tailor their programming specifically for Akron residents, "so that we are very clear and intentional about what some of their direct stressors are, which could differ than what’s experienced in Cleveland," Farmer said.

Ohio Medicaid will fund the expansion of the program.

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