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Students participating in Legislative Day

NEOMED Legislative Day 2017: Finding Solutions to Infant Mortality

Here’s the latest in a series of articles by students and staff on Legislative Day 2017.

The rate of infant mortality—the death of a person under the age of one—is high in Ohio. Summit County, where many NEOMED students grow up and remain to work in the health care professions, has some of the highest infant mortality rates in the state.

Throughout a public health-focused summer practicum, students from the University of Akron devised a plan that would assist expectant mothers who lack access to transportation and health care by incentivizing them to attend monthly educational sessions. On Legislative Day held July 28 at NEOMED, the team of UA students presented their intervention program to Jared Holt, director of state government relations at The University of Toledo, explaining how Summit County could increase usage of its existing programs through partnerships and incentives.

Taking the People to the Care

The team’s goal was to help pregnant women who use Medicaid improve their access to the CenteringPregnancy group care programs offered by Summa Health. Because lack of transportation is often a barrier, the students proposed offering free van pick-up to transport the expectant mothers to the program sites. The students also suggested awarding the women $50 Visa Gift Cards upon completion of the 10-month program.

The students’ point: There’s no need to create additional educational resources when so many good options already exist. By helping more women find a way to attend existing group care pregnancy programs, the University of Akron team hopes to improve an underserved group’s understanding of maternal needs and prenatal care.

Supporting Public Health in the Community

The Summer Practicum in Public Health was coordinated by Kim M.K. Trowbridge, M.Ed., a graduate faculty member in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Through NEOMED’s College of Graduate Studies, Trowbridge is also faculty for the Consortium of Eastern Ohio Master of Public Health program, a nontraditional program geared toward the working professional.