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HFL INITIATIVES

Partners for Healthier Babies

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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 Health 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 HFL's 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 25-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 before pregnancy and prenatal health issues, particularly preventative health habits for women and couples considering pregnancy, and 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. 

 

 

 

 

2023 Accomplishments 

  • During Safe Sleep Month in October, HFL and our PHB Partners celebrated zero infant deaths related to unsafe sleep practices Y2021, the first anniversary of FIMR, and Share & Learn Sessions where are partners presented their contributions to the reduction in infant mortality.  La Porte County’s IMR is lower than both the state and national rate.

  • Awarded a $10,000 Indiana Department of Health, Community Action Program Grant. Monies were used for the 2022 & 2023 Safe Sleep Campaigns. Also awarded were right-sized cribs and sleep sacks to distribute to local agencies whose families are in need.

  • 150 First Responders working in La Porte County were trained on Infant Safe Sleep and Family Engagement (INSSAFE). The training focused on identifying risk factors and hazards in infant sleep environments while on scene and understanding the vital role First Responders have in preventing these deaths from occurring.

  • Translating FIMR Recommendations into Action, the Community Action Team (CAT) (which is the Partners for Healthier Babies Council) receives recommendations from the Case Review Team (CRT). FIMR CATs can make meaningful changes in systems and improvements in the quality of care, services, and resources available to parents, infants, and families. FIMR CAT chair encourages the team to grow continually, reflect, and keep laser-focused on improving MCH outcomes as reflected in the data.

  • Members of PHB Council self-selected to CAT Workgroups. The sample workplan format from The National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention was discussed as well as strategies to implement the recommendations, and workgroup meeting format and schedule. CAT Workgroups were organized based on the four recommendations from the CRT.

  • Updated a county-wide guide, Maternal Care in La Porte County in English and Spanish, to include new resources for moms, parents, and families.

  • Spearheaded monthly awareness and communication of baby-related product recalls to keep babies safe.

  • Product Recall monthly communication from HFL to PHB-related partners.

  • Community Paramedicine was created by Franciscan Health and supported by the City of La Porte Fire Department Paramedics.

  • Centralized Care for Families was launched by Geminus called the La Porte County Family Resource Center.

 

2022 Accomplishments

  • La Porte County became the 37th Indiana County to bring a Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) process to our county. Thanks to the PHB Council for spearheading the campaign and HFL for funding the first year. 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.  

  • 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 inaugural guide to Maternal Care Resources in La Porte County.

  • 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.

  • In 2021, initiated four workgroups based on analyzed birth data and input from the PHB Council. The workgroups strategies for Y2021 included: 

    • Improve Access to Preconception Health & Wellness of Women of Child-bearing Age. ​

    • Improve Access to Prenatal Care & Wellness Education During 1st Trimester.

    • Increase Access to Education and Local Resources for New Moms, Dads, and Families. 

    • Improve Safe & Responsible Care and Support for Parents of Infants & Newborns. 

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

Emerging as a public health strategy in the mid-1980s, Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Process was created as a response to the alarming increase in the infant mortality rate in the United States. The FIMR process 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)

 

The Community Review Team (CRT) reviews the circumstances surrounding the lives and deaths of these mothers and infants, as well as those who are never born (fetal detahs), and then provides these findings and recommendations to the community action team (CAT), who then works 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 prose@laportecounty.org with questions. 

Maternal Care Brochure: Resources in La Porte County

The Partners for Healthier Babies council maintains a Maternal Care Brochure, a free listing of resources for pregnant women, infants, and families. From prenatal care to diapers and cribs, the brochure connects La Porte County residents with services, programs, and help for healthier babies. 

Click below to access the brochure in either English or Spanish. 

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English version

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El versión en español

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 mwellnitz@hflaporte.org

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