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

Infant Mortality
Prevention Action Team


In 2017, the 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 team has been formed. This team meets quarterly to review fetal (still born deaths of greater than 20 weeks gestation) and infant 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 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)

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.