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Partners for Healthier Babies

Pregnant Woman by Birch tree, holding her stomach
black baby in diaper holding his feet
Pregnant Woman and Partner with his hand on her stomach

Established in 2019 by Healthcare Foundation of La Porte (HFL), Partners for Healthier Babies was initiated in response to HFL’s local priority: Healthy Children. Children’s health is inseparable from Healthcare Foundation of La Porte’s (HFL) mission of empowering our residents to live healthy and well. The lifelong benefits of prenatal, infant, and child wellness have led us to identify Healthy Children as an HFL Strategic Focus Area.  ​


Working together to deliver healthier moms and babies is an active 30-member council of community partners including medical providers, public health agencies, nonprofit organizations, parents, and community members to address the social, behavioral, and health risk factors that contribute to infant mortality, preterm birth, lack of prenatal care, and low birthweight.  In addition, members bring resources, expertise, and relationships to the table to help plan, strategize, and implement a county-wide action plan.


Using a results-based framework to establish impactful strategies to improve maternal and child health, HFL is actively convening social service agencies, and key community and state leaders in the planning, strategizing, and execution of infant mortality reduction strategies. Additionally, HFL seeks to improve the quality and expand the reach of public awareness and education related to prenatal health issues, particularly preventative health habits for pregnant women and their families. A listing of PHB Council members can be downloaded here

2021 Indicators 

La Porte County statistics has made significant gain in all indicators related to healthier babies. Refer to Healthy Babies Indicators for La Porte County. 





2022 Accomplishments

  • Held discussions with obstetric and pediatric medical providers on safe sleep recommendations, barriers to compliance, and cultural norms.

  • Launched Safe Sleep News Conference and Campaign with the purpose of making safe sleep practices the social norm in La Porte County. The Kick-Off Event was featured by LaPorteCounty.Life. Learn more in the press release and view photos from the event. 

  • Released a Maternal Care Resource Guide covering La Porte County.

  • Conducted INSSAFE Training for First Responders. The training outlined unsafe sleep environments and practices to look for when responding to emergency calls.

  • Welcomed community champions from the Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Initiative. These Grassroots Leaders work in high-risk neighborhoods educating mothers, dads, and families about infant mortality, safe sleep, 

  • Increased accessibility of services for parents with the assistance of our partners, including transportation to prenatal care appointments, insurance including Medicaid and free maternal care items available, diapers, car seats, formula, right-sized cribs, and more.

2019 - 2021 Accomplishments 

  • Recruited partners from multi-disciplines across La Porte County and the State of Indiana.

  • Introduced Results-based Accountability (RBA) as the proven framework of taking action that contributes to improving the quality of life in communities, as well as to improve the performance of programs.

  • Increased connection, familiarity, and trust with diverse peers.

  • Strengthened data access and service provider mapping.

  • Increased interest and enthusiasm for, engagement in, and diversity of the PHB Council.

  • Increased awareness of existing resources available in the county.

  • Increased knowledge of, and focused strategies on, evidence-based solutions.

  • Explored the causes (story behind the data) and solutions (what works).

  • Focused strategies on underserved populations.

  • Populated Ten2030 and other state offered websites with parent and family resources located in La Porte County.


Community Action Team (CAT): PHB Council

The PHB Council has emerged as a lead organization in La Porte County to solve the complex issue of infant mortality.  Low birth weight and preterm birth are key risk indicators/factors and are influenced by multiple factors. Early prenatal care (care in the first trimester of a pregnancy) allows women and their healthcare providers to identify, treat. monitor, and influence health issues and health-compromising behaviors that can be damaging during the initial stages of fetal development. Increasing the number of women who receive early prenatal care can improve birth outcomes for mom and baby.


La Porte County's Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR)

Emerging as a public health strategy in the mid-1980s, Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) was created as a response to the alarming increase in the infant mortality rate in the United States. Throughout the country, FIMR is being utilized as an action-oriented, evidence-based community process that continually assesses, monitors, and works to improve service systems and community resources for women, infants, and families.  In 2022, La Porte County became the 37th Indiana County to assemble a FIMR team, thanks to the PHB Council for spearheading the campaign for a FIMR Team and funding by HFL.  


FIMR offers:

  • A warning system that can describe effects of health care systems change.

  • A method for implementing continuous quality improvement (CQI).

  • A means to implement needs assessment, quality assurance and policy development which are essential public health function, at the local level.

(Source: National Center for Fatality Review & Prevention)


FIMR teams review the circumstances surrounding the lives and deaths of these mothers and infants, as well as those who are never born (fetal deaths), and then provide these findings to community action teams (CAT), who then work to produce creative ideas to help improve birth outcomes and reduce infant mortality rates. Research shows FIMR is an effective perinatal systems intervention as it examines infant mortality in the large context of social, economic and systems factors.

Of note is that all data is de-identified throughout the FIMR process. Names and identifying personal information are removed as FIMR is not about assigning blame. Rather, it is an examination of circumstances surrounding the death to identify system gaps.  Case abstractions are made from available records: obstetrics, hospital, emergency medical services, child protective services, coroner, police, and more.

La Porte County FIMR meets monthly. To learn more, please contact FIMR Coordinator Peggy Rose at with questions. 

ABC's of Safe Sleep
Unsafe sleep areas remain a leading cause of infant death. These deaths can be preventable with consistent safe sleep messaging to all caregivers. Remember the ABC's of Safe Sleep for every nap, every night, every time a baby is put down to sleep.

             A: ALONE / APART (no co-sleeping, no blankets, pillows, stuffed animals, 
bumpers, etc.)
             B: on baby's BACK 
             C: in a safe CRIB (or pack-n-play; not on a couch, futon, adult bed, in a swing, etc.)


Have questions about PHB? Want to learn more?
Reach out to Mary Wellnitz, Special Projects Manager, at

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