Grant funds totaling $135,372 have been awarded to the University of North Texas Health Science Center’s (UNTHSC) School of Public Health and Center for Community Health to conduct the first phase of a project called the “Healthy Moms-Healthy Babies Initiative.” Funding is through a payment the Health Science Center received from a foundation that supported the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas before it closed in 2005.
The “Healthy Moms-Healthy Babies Initiative” is designed to lower infant mortality rates in four zip codes in Fort Worth, Texas, which are among the highest in the state, by focusing on women’s health throughout their lives. The goal is to establish a sustainable, community-based effort through which community organizations can reduce infant mortality rates, particularly among African-American women.
The project will collaborate with the Healthy Texas Babies program initiated by the Texas Department of State Health Services and the March of Dimes.
Lead principal investigator on the project is Richard S. Kurz, PhD, dean, UNTHSC School of Public Health, and co-principal investigator is Kathryn Cardarelli, PhD, associate Epidemiology professor and director, UNTHSC Center for Community Health.
The initiative will convene an Oversight Board, build a partnership with the affected community, conduct focus groups to raise awareness and knowledge regarding infant mortality and its risk factors, and develop a strategic plan to reduce infant mortality rates in Tarrant County.
The proposal for this initiative is the result of feedback and “next steps” follow up from the North Texas Health Forum, an annual community conference sponsored by the UNTHSC School of Public Health that focused in 2010 on the topic of infant mortality.