History of the Improving Infant Outcomes Project
The infant mortality rate (IMR), defined as the number of deaths to infants less than 1 year of age per 1,000 live births, is one of the most important indicators of the health of Oklahoma and the nation. It is associated with a number of factors such as maternal health, quality and access to medical care, socioeconomic conditions, and public health practices.
The top three causes of infant mortality in Oklahoma are
- congenital malformations (medical condition present at birth)
- disorders related to short gestation (less than 37 weeks of completed pregnancy) and low birth weight (less than five pounds, eight ounces)
- Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
In Oklahoma, the current IMR is 7.1, according to the vital statistics data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). Oklahoma's IMR has remained above the national rate since 1992. While some improvements have been observed, more needs to be accomplished to decrease infant mortality rates and reduce racial disparities.
In response, the OSDH Commissioner’s Action Team on Reduction of Infant Mortality was convened May 2007 with the overarching goal of reducing infant mortality in Oklahoma. The team has expanded to include external partners in a collaborative initiative, "Preparing For A Lifetime, It's Everyone's Responsibility", to reduce infant mortality and other adverse birth outcomes as well as reduce racial disparities for such outcomes.
As part of the strategic planning process, relevant data were gathered and analyzed revealing the need to target interventions that focus on both maternal health and infant health. Maternal health encompasses behaviors before and during pregnancy, maternal infections, prematurity, postpartum depression and tobacco use. Infant health efforts focus on infant safe sleep, breastfeeding and childhood injury. The purpose of this website is to offer education and provide resources regarding these issues. Find out what you can do to prepare Oklahoma's babies for a lifetime of promise. It’s everyone’s responsibility.