A team of University of Maryland School of Public Health faculty, staff and students wrote a report analyzing risk factors for infant mortality in Maryland for the Maryland General Assembly, through a contract with the Maryland Health Care Commission.
The 17-member team from the Department of Family Science and the Maryland Center for Health Equity was charged with examining why infant mortality rates in Maryland are highest for African American and rural infants, and to make recommendations to reduce them.
The team completed their literature review, workgroups and interviews and submitted the written report to the Senate Finance Committee and House Health and Government Operations Committee of the Maryland General Assembly on Friday, November 1, only having a short six months to complete it.
“The big picture here is that disparities in infant mortality have been persistent over time,” said professor, Dr. Sandra Quinn, chair of the Department of Family Science and the lead of the study.
Maryland’s infant mortality rate is higher than the national average, the report states, in part, because people of color carry a disproportionate burden of infant mortality and the State has a higher proportion of Black residents than the national average.
The report outlined several recommendations to reduce the disparities, including improving coordinated care efforts, expanding and enhancing access to care and creating a permanent council to focus on the disparities in infant mortality and maternal mortality.
“We need monitoring. We need a laser beam focus on this,” Quinn said. “When you have attention on programs and adequate resources, then we can see some sustained progress.”Friday Letter Submission, Publish on November 08