B'more for Healthy Babies Celebrates 6 Years of Success
Wednesday Oct 14th, 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (October 14, 2015)–Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen joined elected officials, city representatives, and families from across Baltimore City today to celebrate six years of success in reducing infant mortality rates at an event honoring the B'more for Healthy Babies (BHB) initiative.
In 2009, Baltimore City had the fourth highest infant mortality rate in the nation. B'more for Healthy Babies was founded to ensure that all babies are born at a healthy weight, full-term and ready to thrive in healthy families. Since the program’s inception, Baltimore’s infant mortality rate has dropped by over 20 percent, hitting its lowest point ever recorded in 2012. Disparities between black and white infant deaths have also consistently decreased. As a result of B’More for Healthy Babies, the teen birth rates in the city have dropped by an unprecedented 32 percent.
“Today, we see that Baltimore has made great strides as a city toward our vision that all Baltimore babies are born ready to thrive in healthy families,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen. “Although fewer infants are dying in Baltimore, far too many still do not live to see their first birthday. We have more to do so that every child born in Baltimore has the best future possible.”
Earlier in the day, the Baltimore City Health Department and its partner, CareFirst, were presented with a Spirit of Service Award by the Healthy Teen Network for B’More for Healthy Babies.
Building off of the program’s initial success, in 2010, Baltimore City Health Department launched its “SLEEP SAFE” campaign to encourage parents to put their babies to sleep following the A-B-C method: “On their Back. In a Crib. Don’t smoke. No Exceptions.” The B’more for Healthy Babies campaign has significant decreased the number of babies dying in their sleep, with a record low number of infant sleep-related deaths in 2014. Earlier this year, the Baltimore City Health Department launched a new phase of the “SLEEP SAFE” campaign with a focus on infants sleeping in a smoke-free environment.
BHB is led by the Baltimore City Health Department and the Family League of Baltimore and implemented with more than 100 partner agencies from the corporate, nonprofit, academic, donor, and government sectors. The initiative has a strong community outreach and mobilization program that operates in Upton/Druid Heights, Park Heights, Patterson Park, and other neighborhoods.
BHB works to decrease the three leading causes of infant death: premature birth, low birth weight birth, and unsafe sleep. The initiative utilizes a collective impact approach to improve an often-fragmented health care system to reach all of Baltimore’s families with quality maternal and infant health services and support.
“The continued success of the B’more for Healthy Babies demonstrates that Baltimore families are invested in improving their families’ health,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “By bringing together diverse organizations we can continue to tackle the all-too-high infant mortality rate in Baltimore. Together we can ensure that Baltimore’s babies are born healthy and grow up healthy, ready for school and success.”
For more information on the B’more for Healthy Babies campaign, visit http://www.healthybabiesbaltimore.com.