Ypsilanti hosts statewide summit to prioritize lowering Michigan's infant mortality rate
In Michigan, eight of every 1,000 babies will die before their first birthday.
It’s a dismal, heartbreaking statistic stakeholders from across the state are addressing today in Ypsilanti at a summit called by the Michigan Department of Community Health to address the infant mortality rate in Michigan.
“Over the last three years, we’ve had increasing infant mortality, where the rest of the country has improved,” said Gov. Rick Snyder, addressing a crowd at the Ann Arbor Marriott Ypsilanti at Eagle Crest. “This is where we need your expertise.”
With an infant mortality rate of 7.9, Michigan ranks 37th among all states.
At a September address at the Heart of the City Health Center in Grand Rapids, Snyder characterized infant mortality as a critical indicator of overall health and welfare of Michigan and called for major improvements.
“We as Michiganders will stand together and take on this topic and make a major difference,” he said Monday morning in Ypsilanti.
Attending Monday morning are officials from Washtenaw County Public Health and The Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti.
The overall infant mortality rate is 5.2 in Washtenaw County; for white infants, it is 3.5 and for black infants, 13.3, Washteanw County Public Health officials said. Local statistics on other races are not available, said Susan Cerniglia, public health educator for the health department.
Ellen Clement, the director of Corner Health, said she hopes to share what the clinic has learned about infant mortality in almost 30 years of operation in Ypsilanti.
Corner Health provides services to 100 pregnant patients 21 years old and younger each year. Most of its pregnant clients are young black women who lack insurance and pay for services with Medicaid, though the clinic also subsidizes care with private donations, she said.