National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

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Today marks the 1st day of September and the beginning of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. As an organization whose primary focus is to reduce infant mortality, especially in minority communities where the rates are significantly higher than other communities, this is a special month for NHSA.

In 2005, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, 26th District of Texas, introduced Resolution 402 directing Congress to observe September as National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and the U.S. House of Representatives passed the resolution in September 2006. Since then, September has been nationally recognized as the month where we focus on increasing awareness about infant mortality, highlight the factors that contribute to infant mortality and urge community leaders to rally with us to help reduce the number of babies dying before their 1st birthday. The United States continues to have one of the highest rates of infant mortality at 6.78 according to a 2008 CDC report.  Sadly, babies in Black, Hispanic and American Indian communities are dying at rates that are 3-4 times higher than White communities. Many minority communities also have infant mortality rates that are 3 times higher than the national rate!

To commemorate the month, NHSA and the 102 Healthy Start projects around the country will be hosting or participating in a series of community events.  From community block parties in Indianapolis to a 5k Run/Walk in Rockville, MD, we will all be doing our part to educate and inform women, men, businesses, and others about infant mortality. We ask that you join us this September, but also in the months to come to help us give babies a healthy start.

My plea to you is to do at least one thing, no matter how big or small, that will help our country have healthier babies. Whether it is taking an expectant friend to her first trimester appointment or volunteering with teen girls to discuss healthy lifestyles, you can help save the life of a baby. Together we can help families be healthier and have healthy babies!

Check out NHSA’s website for events occuring in Healthy Start communities this month.

The  Office of Minority Health has a listing of NIMAM events occurring around the country.

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

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