Infant health and safety is the responsibility of families, healthcare providers, and communities. In Pierce County and the southwest region of Washington State, rates of infant mortality have not kept pace with the decline achieved in the Seattle area of King County or with the state as a whole. At 6.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, our county ranks among the highest in the state, and is not yet close to the national goal set by the Healthy People 2020. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) continues to be a primary factor in the disproportionately high rates of death for infants in Pierce County. Other factors include low birth weight with short gestation or prematurity and birth defects.
This project proposes to bridge gaps that are threatening the lives of our most precious community members, infants who represent the future and whose health is a primary responsibility of those who care for them. In the next few months, we will identify key participants, including parents, professionals, community leaders, organizational and coalition groups already at work, and experts in community advocacy and research. We will build a team, initiate trusting relationships, and discover issues related to infant health and safe sleep environments.
Our group will then work to define areas of need and priorities for risk reduction, and ultimately identify opportunities for comparative effectiveness research to reduce infant mortality and address the ongoing racial and socioeconomic disparities of infant death in our community.