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State Task Force to Address Persistent Racial Disparities in Infant Mortality

baby feet cr VinothChandar cc.jpg
Vinoth Chandar
Flickr/Creative Commons
Overall, nine fewer Ohio infants died before their first birthday in 2019 than 2018. There were 929 infant deaths in 2019, according to the report from the Ohio Department of Health.

The Ohio Department of Health has released its annual infant mortality report (see the full report below). The report draws on data from 2019 which shows statewide infant mortality rates declined. However, racial disparities persist with Black infants nearly three times more likely to die in their first year of life than white babies.

Statewide, the mortality rate was 6.9% in 2019. For Black infants that number was over 14% in that same year.
Gov. Mike DeWine said he’s establishing the Eliminating Racial Disparity and Infant Mortality Task Force which will focus on eliminating the disparity by the year 2030.

“The task force will create actual recommendations—actual recommendations—for interventions, performance and quality improvement, data collection, and policies to advise our effort to change this very, very unacceptable situation,” Dewine said.

The leading cause of death among all infants in 2019 was complications due to premature births. Other causes were birth defects and external injuries.

Connor Steffen is a junior at Kent State studying journalism. Connor is a member of TV2 News, Kent State's student-run television station, where he serves as the executive producer for all news operations. He also anchors, reports and produces for the station. After graduation, Connor hopes to work as a reporter at a local news station.