Infant boy whose hand is grasping the pinky finger of an adult.

Infant Mortality Prevention Action Team



In 2017, infant mortality in Bartholomew County had risen to an alarming rate with a very concerning spike in 2015 (13.7 deaths per 1,000 live births – the highest in the state for 2015).

In response to this trend, the Bartholomew County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) team was formed in 2018. This team meets quarterly to review fetal (still born deaths of greater than 20 weeks gestation) and infant (birth up to one year of age) deaths in Bartholomew County.

This team has also worked with the Bartholomew County Health Department and the Indiana State Department of Health to understand the causes of, circumstances surrounding and prevention opportunities of infant deaths in our community.

In 2019, Healthy Communities formed the Infant Mortality Prevention Action Team (now called IMPACT). This team brings together over 40 community and healthcare partners who have a passion for maternal and child health to work towards making Bartholomew County the best place for women and infants.

In partnership with the Columbus Regional Foundation and the Indiana State Department of Health, this team operates using Title V grant funding and donor dollars to truly make a difference in our community. Join us as we move the needle in maternal and child health outcomes!

In this video, Ashley Giles recalls the tragedy of losing her son Jaxon after a co-sleeping accident. Pediatric hospitalist Rachel Kerschner, MD, provides safe sleep information for parents and caregivers.

Definitions /Background

  • Infant mortality is defined as the death of an infant (any infant born alive) prior to their first birthday.
  • The infant mortality rate is defined as the number of infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Infant mortality is counted based on Mom’s county of residence when the death occurs.
  2013-2017 Aggregate IMR2014-2018 Aggregate IMR 
 Bartholomew County 8.4 7.5
 Indiana7.3 7.2
 US 5.8 5.8
 Healthy People 2020 6 6

Role of the Community Action Team

  • Work with community to implement interventions
  • Safeguard successful systems changesinitiated by FIMR
  • Enhance credibility and visibility of issues related to women, infants and families

A review of local cases of infant loss from 2015-2017 identified these priority areas:

  • Safe sleep practices
  • Preconception care
  • Decreasing premature deaths

Additional Resources:

Safe Sleep Resources:

The BABY & ME – Tobacco Free Program™

Women, Infants and Children (WIC)

2020 Accomplishments

  • Created mission/vision for team:
    • Mission: To decrease local infant mortality through data-driven interventions, promoting and supporting families and community partners through education, outreach and collaboration.
    • Vision:  A community that provides the best resources and support to families; to ensure more families celebrate first birthdays
  • Created a PSA to share one local moms story of loss
  • Worked with a local designer to create a new logo
  • Rebranded the team to IMPACT (Infant Mortality Prevention ACtion Team)
  • Provided CPR for the layperson with Cassie Hawkins in February 2020
  • Provided iPads for the OB/GYN offices and Sandcrest Family Medicine to provide education related to safe sleep, having a healthy pregnancy and caring for a newborn.
  • Virtual education series provided through CRH:  
    • Quality Improvement and Equity in the Context of Safe Infant Sleep Presenters:  Lorena Kaplan, MPH, CHES and Stacy Scott, PhD, MPA
    • Maternal Tobacco Cessation  presented by: Mary Pell Abernathy, MD, MBA,
    • Update on Prevention of Prematurity presented by Dr. Methodius Tuuli.
  • Meridian Kiwanis Coolest Pet Competition $2,000.00 used to purchase a Medela Symphony breast pump, case and accessory kits for moms who have a referral for a hospital grade pump.
  • Daddy 101 was presented live, then switched to virtual, with live facilitators
  • Baby Boot Camp provided education for families at two virtual sessions
  • Continued to provide the Postpartum Support Group through Family Service
  • Provided nearly 500 sleep sacks to WIC- New Hope Services
  • Worked with Tobacco Awareness to develop a flier covering benefits to quitting smoking while pregnant were delivered to local offices
  • Patty Pigman presented on safe sleep interventions at the 2020 Virtual Labor of Love Conference.
  • Hosted a focus group with the Indiana State Department of Health to learn about local views on safe sleep messaging.
  • Provided Nurse Family Partnership, (NFP) with sleep sacks, cribs and breast pumps
  • Safe Sleep September radio/print/Facebook campaign
  • Launched the new Facebook IMPACT page
  • Launched the IMPACT Columbus Podcast:
    • "Navigating the holidays during a pandemic for new and expecting moms"
    • "Postpartum Mood Disorder (PPMD) It's OK to not be Ok."
  • Received a second year of funding from ISDH
  • Provided Department of Child Services (DCS) 100 Safe Sleep books and magnets
  • Published articles in The Republic  Newspaper


  • Provided Cheer Fund Families and Northside Pediatrics with safe-sleep supplies.
  • Provided support to the CRH Ambulance Service Direct On-Scene Education (DOSE) program.
  • Created a PSA on kick counts with Dr. Reed and a Breastfeeding Support PSA for working moms with an engineer and mother of six. Dr. Albers is also featured talking about the importance of pre-natal care and a local family is featured in safe sleep snippets.

2019 Accomplishments

Creation of new Infant Mortality Prevention Action Team.

Developed resource guide for moms/families .

Safe Sleep Ambassador training rolled out to over 100 community members.
Columbus Pediatrics is now screening moms at 2 weeks and 2 months for Postpartum Depression and linking moms through an enhanced referral process. 

Meridian Kiwanis supported the cost of two people to attend the DONA International Birth Doula training. We now have three new birth doulas working in the community.

Increased referrals to the Baby & Me Tobacco Free Program at Clarity. 

We cosponsored the Bumps and Babies Family Resource Fair. 21 Community Partners were there to share 26 programs in our community that are available to families. We had 27 total participants who were able to learn about the local programs and resources.

The Infant Mortality Prevention Team received a Title V Grant to support our work for 2019-2020.

Introduced DOSE, (Direct on Scene Education ™: “Baby Safe Sleep Initiative”) to CRH First Responders. DOSE is a program for first responders to learn how to identify and remove hazards while on the scene of an emergency or non-emergency 911 call.  First Responders are trained to identify and remove hazards from an infant's sleep space, to reduce deaths due to an unsafe sleep environment.

Held a “Train the Trainer” program for CRH EMS staff for DOSE (Direct On Scene Education) program for EMS to educate families/caregivers about safe sleep for infants, 11 people trained, (8 Ambulance Services, 3 Healthy Communities).

Two Infant Mortality Prevention Team members who work in the CRH Birthing Center are ensuring that all staff in pediatrics and labor and Delivery are trained in Safe Sleep through Cribs for Kids. 

Ten people from Bartholomew County went to the Perinatal Mood Disorders: Components of Care conference in Indianapolis. Indiana. Over the course of two days, they learned everything from what Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders are, to how to screen for them and how they are treated. Our group was well represented with individuals from Family Service, Columbus Regional Health, Southern Indiana OB/GYN, Doup Psychology Group, Nurse Family Partnership (NFP) and Human Services. 

Hosted Baby Boot Camp, for families in Bartholomew County Library Conference Room. 
Baby Boot Camp is an opportunity to learn best practices regarding baby care. Topics include: Baby wellness - immunizations, baby well visits, and smoking cessation; how to handle crying; safe sleep; postpartum depression; breastfeeding; community resources.

CPR- we had 18 people attend the FREE Infant CPR course at Wellconnect. An American Red Cross Instructor, Certified Medical Assistant (AAMA), and Certified Lactation Counselor taught basic techniques for CPR on infants, toddlers and adults as well as conscious choking techniques and basic first aid skills. This class was for home-use only.

Dr. Scott, M.D., presented on Promoting Safe Sleep and Breastfeeding Together. 67 people attended the CME (12 MD, 55 non-MD). 93 % of people felt that this information was useful in their work.

Presented at the Labor of Love Conference, Building Partnerships to Reduce Infant Mortality in Bartholomew County.