FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, October 1, 2014
CONTACT: Karis Erwin (202) 407-7753
Washington, DC – Today, Community of Hope joins an unprecedented public health initiative created by a public-private partnership of national, local and corporate partners, in order to improve birth outcomes and lower the infant mortality rate (IMR) in the District of Columbia to 5.0 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2020. Stronger Together– One City 4 Healthier Babies, is a District-based program started by attorney Myron M. Cherry of Chicago – a founding supporter of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) and Aegis Health Security.
Infant mortality is a key indicator of the health of a nation. Despite the ever-increasing cost of health care (now 17 percent of the nation’s GDP), the IMR in the United States still exceeds that of most other developed countries, at 6.05. According to the World Bank, in 2012 the United States ranked 32nd in the world for infant mortality. Despite significant progress over the last decade, the IMR in the District is higher than the national average, at 7.9 infant deaths per 1,000 live births according to the 2012 Infant Mortality Report by the DC Department of Health.
With an aggressive goal to reduce the city’s IMR by one-third over the next year and improve health equity across all wards, Community of Hope has joined with other health care providers, community organizations, District government agencies and corporate partners, to launch the new initiative. Mayor Vincent Gray announced the Stronger Together campaign at Community of Hope’s new Ward 8 location, the Conway Health and Resource Center, at noon today.
“It is very appropriate to launch the Stronger Together Campaign here in Ward 8, at this new access point, as the rate of infant mortality in Ward 8 was the second highest in DC – at 12 deaths per 1,000 in 2011. Community of Hope is excited to be partnering on this critical initiative to reduce infant mortality,” said Kelly Sweeney McShane, President and CEO.
Stronger Together is a public-private partnership with over 40 CGI commitment partners to improve maternal and child-health outcomes in the District as a successful model to be used by urban communities across the United States. Stronger Together will reduce infant mortality utilizing innovative analytics, best clinical practices and the mobilization of community partners to create a culture of health and help babies get to their first birthday healthy and ready to thrive.
Stronger Together’s framework includes a sustained approach to community education and stakeholder engagement and six key initiatives to reduce the IMR in the District in the areas of:
· Centering, a type of group or “buddy” system for prenatal care;
· Safe sleep;
· Screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment (SBIRT);
· Smoking cessation;
· Use of 17-hydroxyprogesterone (17-P), a synthetic form of progesterone that has been shown to reduce the recurrence of certain pre-term births;
· Highly efficient and coordinated patient-engagement services.
In addition to partnering with key stakeholder groups to coordinate services, resources and referrals, the project includes a multi-layered public awareness and education campaign. The campaign will promote the five key initiatives through a mix of community outreach and targeted print, broadcast, online and social media advertising and promotion.
To learn more about Stronger Together, visit www.stronger2getherDC.com.
Founded in 1980, Community of Hope works to improve the health and quality of life for low-income, homeless and underserved families and individuals in the District of Columbia by providing healthcare, housing with supportive services, educational opportunities, and spiritual support. Community of Hope operates three health centers, including its third and largest health center, the Conway Health and Resource Center, which will provide medical and dental care for approximately 10,000 District residents a year in Ward 8.
For more information about Community of Hope and the Conway Health and Resource Center, please visit www.communityofhopedc.org.