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Member Research and Reports

Member Research and Reports

Maryland: Researchers Tackle Maternal and Infant Mortality in the State

Infant mortality rates in Maryland are highest for African American and rural infants, and researchers at the University of Maryland School of Public Health are helping the state determine why.

Faculty from the Department of Family Science and the Maryland Center for Health Equity are embarking on a year-long study for the Maryland Health Care Commission analyzing risk factors for infant mortality, examining the use of community health workers and pregnancy navigators and cataloging what innovative health programs already exist.

The 17-member team, which includes faculty, doctoral students and undergraduates, will present preliminary analyses next month and submit the initial report to the state in November.

The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill last fall mandating that the Maryland Health Care Commission produce the study, which will be the first state analysis of infant mortality since 2011. Evidence suggests that mortality rates among rural infants have increased in recent years, while rates among blacks have remained high. In Maryland, the highest infant mortality rates can be found in heavily black areas like Baltimore City and rural counties like Somerset and Worcester.

“In many ways this is a golden opportunity to take on a persistent and tragic problem, bring various faculty and students into the project and hopefully make a difference when it comes to policy in Maryland,” said Dr. Sandra Quinn, chair of the Department of Family Science and lead of the study.

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