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Posted on Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 9:55 a.m.

Ypsilanti hosts statewide summit to prioritize lowering Michigan's infant mortality rate

By Juliana Keeping

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.

Juliana Keeping covers general assignment and health and the environment for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Tue, Oct 18, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

Increasing infant mortality? GET USED TO IT. Along with the exponential rise in chronic disease in the rest of us. Ironic that Michigan Dept of Community Health is leading the charge, when the bogus &quot;health-promoting&quot; measures recommended by our (industry captured) Public Health institutions are a significant part of the problem. If you don't believe that, why don't you urge these geniuses to add even more industrial waste (i.e. fluoride, which is now officially contradicted for fetuses, infants and children and disproportionately harms African Americans by causing increased uptake of lead) into our water, along with all the unmonitored pharmaceuticals now fouling our water supply, nationwide. Or maybe, enforce strict mandates for compliance in taking mercury-laden flu shots for all pregnant women, and jack up the number of flu shots required for infants in the first year of life from two to three? Mercury is good for you if injected, right? Or maybe urge the CDC to continue to hide unfavorable studies about environmental degradation in our state, so as not to rile up the great unwashed against all-hallowed economic growth. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> And, thank goodness, we've got soil so depleted (even the USDA has acknowledged this fact) that we can be assured pregnant women and infants are ingesting lower and lower levels of nutrients in their diets. After all, we were just warned this month, by a &quot;study&quot; in the Archives of Internal Medicine that vitamins are DEADLY.... (Never mind that AIM - and most of the studies in it - is entirely funded by pharmaceutical company advertising.) So, MDCH, keep tightening the screws on those public health menaces, like those reprobate smokers, and parents who question toxins and undisclosed viral DNA in vaccines, and keep mum about the 50 tons of mercury emissions spewed into our air each year. Anything else would be bad for business.


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 3:03 p.m.

&quot;for white infants, it is 3.5 and for black infants, 13.3,&quot; Do they know what is causing the big difference?


Mon, Oct 17, 2011 : 3 p.m.

Here is a good way to reduce the infant mortality rate in Ypsi as well as the rest of the state. Quit having babies if you can't take care of them. If you didn't graduate high school, have no marketable skills, have relied on public assistance for the majority of your life, can't keep or hold down a job, lack parenting skills, can't afford to pay your utilities, rely on the gov't to provide you with subsidized housing/food stamps/WIC/cash benefits, see violence as the only solution to everything, blame everyone else for your shortcomings... How in the world is bringing a child into this world going to make your life (or the baby's life) easier???