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Faculty & Staff Honors

Faculty & Staff Honors

Saint Louis Epidemiologist Funded to take on Disparities in Infant Mortality through Nontraditional Gatekeepers

Dr. Pamela Xaverius, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Saint Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice, has been awarded $167,449 from the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) to address infant mortality in St. Louis and the Bootheel region of southeast Missouri, areas which comprise a third of Missouri’s deaths in the first year of life.

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The project, titled “Using Women’s Voices to Raise Awareness About Infant Mortality Among Non-traditional Gatekeepers,” uses the collective impact framework–built upon uniting communities and organizations in a shared goal–to increase the potential for sustainable, positive change.

Dr. Xaverius is interested in measuring perceived influence on infant mortality among leaders in sectors such as transportation, housing, and education, and raising the awareness of these “non-traditional gatekeepers” about their role.

As part of its Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative, MFH has funded implementation grants — place-based efforts that build upon a foundation of efforts by three “backbone” organizations in St. Louis City and County and the Bootheel.

“I saw the request for proposals and, it really connected with an idea that has been central to my research,” said Dr. Xaverius. “We need to hear what is important to the women, because they are the focus of change.”

Dr. Xaverius’ federally- and foundation-funded research in maternal and child health has focused on working with women through health care and other organizations to improve pre-conception health and maternal-child outcomes. “Healthy women become healthy moms,” said Xaverius. “I am so excited about this project- it is really an ideal fit with the trajectory of the research I have been involved with.”