State Rep. Michael Sheehy (D-Oregon) today announced the release of over $3 million to the Hospital Council of Northwest Ohio as part of the Infant Mortality Pathways HUB Model Demonstration Expansion grant program in Toledo. The program is designed to combat Toledo’s abysmal infant mortality crisis by targeting outreach programs and services to at-risk women.
“Infant mortality is still a heart wrenching reality for too many families in our community and throughout our state,” said Sheehy. “I am pleased to see the state’s continued investment in proven programs like the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB that connects potentially at-risk women with quality resources and practices to ensure they give birth to happy, healthy babies that live to see their first birthday.”
The Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB is one of only three provisionally certified HUBs in the country to find predominantly minority, low income, high risk, pregnant women and assist them with needed connection to prenatal care, social services and education to increase the number of full term, healthy babies being born in the Toledo-area.
To date, the HUB has served over 2,000 pregnant women and demonstrated a lower percentage of African American low birth weight babies born into the program. The expanded funding will help to enroll more pregnant women, increase the amount of health care worker in the program, upgrade technical equipment and train new HUBs across the state.
Ohio is one of the worst states in the nation for babies that don’t live to see their first birthday. More African American infants die before their first birthday in Ohio than in any other state.