State of Michigan's Infant Mortality Reduction Plan Released
Creating a healthier Michigan means ensuring babies survive

Contact: Angela Minicuci (517) 241-2112

EMBARGOED until 10:45 a.m.
August 1, 2012

LANSING - In Michigan, 5 out of every 1,000 Caucasian babies and 7 out of every 1,000 Hispanic babies die before their first birthdays. Among Michigan's African-American population, that rate is 14 out of every 1,000 babies born. To address infant mortality and the large disparities that exist in our state, the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) today released Michigan's Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, a statewide plan to reduce and prevent infant mortality in Michigan, at a 10:45 a.m. press conference at Hurley Medical Center in Flint.

Governor Rick Snyder addressed the importance of infant mortality and its effect on the overall health status of Michigan residents in his Health and Wellness message last fall.

"Infant mortality is a critical indicator of the overall health and welfare of Michigan and the quality and accessibility of prenatal care for women," said Governor Snyder. "I commend Director Dazzo and the Michigan Department of Community Health team, along with numerous stakeholders and health professionals, for their work and commitment to turn around Michigan's unacceptable infant mortality rates and create a healthier Michigan."

A multitude of partners across the state shared their expertise to develop the reduction strategies. Input was provided by stakeholders, academic partners, and during the MDCH Infant Mortality Summit in October 2011. The strategies in this plan will build on new and existing partnerships, current program efforts, and new medical research, while addressing social issues and disparities.

"Throughout the last 20 years, Michigan has done the tough job of lowering the overall infant mortality rate, but unfortunately, we have missed a very important segment of our population," said Olga Dazzo, Director of the MDCH. "Michigan's infant mortality rate is still higher than the national average, and alarming disparities continue to exist between various racial and ethnic groups, particularly between African-Americans and Caucasians. We want this plan to help us keep our babies alive so that we may watch them grow into healthy, productive adults."

In an area where disparities have historically been great, MDCH will highlight a hospital which has already begun to ensure that more babies survive to their first birthday. The efforts of Hurley Medical Center in Flint have contributed to a decrease in infant deaths in Genesee County, as well as a large reduction in the disparities that exist.

"Our goal of reducing infant mortality, in particular the large discrepancy among African-American infants, has been realized. This should serve as a model in which medical institutions, social service agencies and community liaisons continuously collaborate to solve public health issues. We are proud of Hurley Medical Center's extensive dedication and partnerships between state and local health departments, along with the intensive effort by the Genesee County hospital community to aid in this amazing accomplishment," said Larry Young, MD, Board Certified OB-GYN and Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Hurley Medical Center.

Hurley Medical Center is involved already in a number of key projects that are a part of the Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan. They are one of only two hospitals in Michigan partnering with the March of Dimes Quality Improvement 39+ Weeks Project, aimed at eliminating non-medically indicated deliveries before 39 weeks. Hurley Medical Center is involved with MCDH's perinatal regionalization project, and the hospital has a Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program on site at the hospital to allow new mothers to enroll in WIC services.

For more information about infant mortality in Michigan, as well as to download a copy of the Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, visit

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Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan Fact Sheet

Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan Backgrounder

Michigan Infant Mortality Reduction Plan Regional Contacts