Maternal & Infant Health
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Commission on Infant Mortality and Department of Children and Youth meet to discuss maternal and infant health

Kyle Thompson
Policy Associate
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May 6, 2024
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On March 23, 2024, the Commission on Infant Mortality heard from the Department of Children and Youth (DCY) on early care and education, maternal and infant vitality, and key strategies that can deliver solutions to issues impacting mothers and their children.

The meeting featured Alicia Leatherman, Chief of the Bureau of Maternal and Infant Vitality at DCY. The Commission is comprised of other stakeholders working to champion maternal and infant health on a state level, with emphasis on solutions that can reduce disparities that adversely impact them (i.e., maternal mortality/infant mortality). Below are several highlights  that were brought up during the meeting:

Infant and Toddler Infrastructure to receive $15 million annually

  • H.B. 33 (the 2024-25 state budget bill) appropriated $15 million per year to go toward childcare toddler and infant infrastructure grants
    • The total applications for these grants were 2,941, which came from 1,554 Centers and 1,387 Family Childcare Locations.
    • Counties Included Butler, Franklin, Lorain, Lucas, Franklin, Mahoning, Stark, Cuyahoga, Montgomery, and Summit County. Notifications were made at the end of January, with another round planned in SFY 2025.

Strategies for reducing infant mortality

  • Parent and Youth Ambassadors (PYAS) help families needing assistance.
  • A DCY Call Center will be introduced with staff available to answer questions in real time for families, youth, and parents.
  • Home visiting services will help provide support to new families to help them achieve goals for child development and their families.
  • Infant and Maternal Vitality Family Connects
    • A new program will start this summer in 11 counties, where every new mother will be eligible to receive a visit from a nurse 3 weeks after delivery.
    • Nurses will guide families for community/clinical support to assist new mothers and ensure babies live to see their first birthday.
    • Wave 1 counties are Erie, Huron, Trumbull, Mahoning, Guernsey, Noble, Greene, Fayette, Shelby, Darke, and Hamilton.

What is the Department of Children and Youth doing to prevent maternal mortality?

The Alliance for Innovation on Maternal Health (AIM) works to reduce maternal deaths and significant maternal morbidity in the United States. There are AIM patient safety bundles, which work to apply interventions to specific health needs impacting a mother. This is done by using a structured process of treatment to improve patient outcomes and care needs. There are primary bundles which are central to the program efforts of AIM’s program to address major causes of preventable maternal morbidity and mortality in the United States. AIM patient safety bundles fall under the quality improvement component of work that the Department of Children and Youth is doing to prevent maternal mortality. This work is part of other initiatives being led by DCY in Ohio. Below is further information DCY is doing to support health in Ohio.

AIM patient safety bundles fall under the quality improvement component of work that the Department of Children and Youth is doing to prevent maternal mortality.

Four Ohio initiatives that support wellbeing, programs, and training

  • Ohio Council to Advance Maternal Health
    • Ohio’s Statewide Maternal Heath Task Force
  • Quality Improvement
    •  Compassionate, Accountable, Respectful,Equitable (CARE) Project
    • AIM Patient Safety Bundles
      • Hemorrhage
      • Substance Use
      • Hypertension
      • Sepsis
    •  Health Mom, Healthy Family Interconnection Care
    • Urgent Maternal Warning Signs
  • Workforce Development
    •  Obstetric emergencies virtual simulation training
    • Telehealth trainings for women’s health providers
    • Implicit bias trainings
  • Program Implementation:
    • Disparities in maternal health community grant program
    • Medical-legal partnerships
    • Group prenatal care initiatives grant

Be sure to subscribe to 5 Things to keep up to date on Community Solution’s work following maternal health and advocating for the wellbeing of birthing parents and children in Ohio. As Community Solutions continues to monitor efforts by DCY, we will also cover topics impacting maternal and infant health.

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