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Health department celebrates successes, launches new efforts during Infant Mortality Awareness Month

LANSING, Mich. – More babies are living to see their first birthdays in Ingham County, but work remains to be done in order to continue the positive trend and eliminate racial disparities.

In honor of Infant Mortality Awareness Month, the Infant Mortality Coalition at the Ingham County Health Department is hosting a community event for new and expectant parents on Thursday, September 22 at Elmhurst Learning Center in Lansing at 5:30 p.m. The event focuses on parental self-care, mental wellness and safe sleep. The health department is also sharing new data and has premiered a video, Health Equity & Infant Mortality in Ingham County, Michigan.

“Although infant mortality has many causes, we know that healthy parents who have support systems and access to resources have better outcomes,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “We’ve seen this in our home visiting programs. Families who are connected are more likely to thrive. We’re especially focused on working with parents of color to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, disparities.”

About seven out of every 1,000 babies born in the county each year die, but for Black babies the rate is higher; ten out of every 1,000 die. The gap has narrowed over the past decade, but the disparity persists.

The disparity sparked the creation of Strong Start | Healthy Start, a home visiting program that works to enhance the health of Black families and improve birth outcomes in Ingham County. The program, along with other home visiting programs at the health department, has cut infant mortality in half among clients. Black babies enrolled in the program have a mortality rate of 5.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births versus a mortality rate of 10.1 deaths per 1,000 births for all Black infants in Ingham County.

Several community partners including McLaren Greater Lansing, Sparrow Health System, the Expectant Parents Organization, Willow Tree Family Center, the Great Start Collaborative and the Michigan Public Health Institute will be in attendance at the event. The health department will also showcase their recently premiered video. To access the new video, please visit:

The media is invited to attend. Elmhurst Learning Center is located at 2400 Pattengill Avenue in Lansing.