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Plan Includes Name Change From Guilford County Coalition On Infant Mortality 

GREENSBORO, N.C. (JUNE 8, 2021) – In its 30th anniversary year, the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality is launching a new collective action strategic plan to concentrate on problems within the system that adversely impacts infant mortality rate.

It has also undergone a name change to Every Baby Guilford to better reflect its strategic transformation.

The new five-year collective action plan, announced yesterday in a virtual presentation, calls for massive change in the organization’s strategy to reduce the infant mortality rate and eliminate the disproportionately Black infant mortality rate in Guilford County. The plan calls for a move to a more holistic, community driven, systems change approach.

The Black infant mortality rate in Guilford County was 14.6 per 1,000 births in 1991 when the organization was formed. It remains the same today and is one of the highest Black infant mortality rates in North Carolina.

“For 30 years, the organization and our county has focused on women, creating individual-level interventions to help individuals beat the odds. We have relied on the voices and expertise of organizations and institutions. Our new approach intends to change the odds for everyone at the systems level,” said Jean Workman, executive director of Every Baby Guilford. 

“Now we are centering the community so that systems answer to the needs of the community, not to their own status quo practices. The point of engagement is to become clear on what it would take to move the needle, meeting those needs equitably, and addressing barriers that get in the way. Rather than taking over work that’s already being done, we are honoring and amplifying it on a broader scale, through a radically inclusive approach, becoming a conductor of the community’s orchestra to positively impact infant mortality rates with a systems approach.”

Formed in 1991, the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality, now Every Baby Guilford, is a public/private partnership of the Guilford County Department of Health Human Services, Division of Public Health, with the new mission to ignite and mobilize Guilford County through partnerships and unified strategies to eliminate racial disparities and prevent infant deaths. This is a collaborative effort of people from the community who recognize this problem and work together to make a difference.

During the past 30 years, Every Baby Guilford has implemented the Adopt-A-Mom program that connects vulnerable women who do not have private health insurance or qualify for Medicaid to prenatal care. The program has linked over 6,800 women to quality prenatal care.

The continued high infant-mortality rate, along with other leading causes of infant death, including late or no prenatal care, preterm birth, and low birthweight rates are higher than the state and national rates with obvious racial disparities, prompted Every Baby Guilford to implement a collective action strategic planning and redesign process.

In June of 2020, Root Cause Institute, a nonprofit consulting group that helps foundations, nonprofits, school districts and public agencies design, implement and measure strategies, was brought aboard to lead the collective action planning process.

Every Baby Guilford aims to reduce infant mortality disparities by 50 percent in five years and eliminate them in 10 years.

The strategies used to meet these goals include:

•      Advance health equity by addressing systemic racism and implicit bias within the continuum of care for maternal and infant health.

•      Center community with radically inclusive community engagement to collectively create equitable solutions.

•      Strengthen the continuum of care of reproductive health, from preconception to prenatal, to inter-conception care, for equitable access to quality care.

•      Promote infant wellness and positive child development. 

The new action plan for Every Baby Guilford also calls for several collaborative and comprehensive interventions that include:

•      Increase community and stakeholder engagement on infant mortality issues, using a radically inclusive approach.

•      Collect and amplify maternal health experiences and use those stories to make policy level changes.

•      Create a community checklist used by providers and patients to ensure health equity.

•      Implement racial equity and implicit bias trainings for healthcare institutions, as well as conduct organizational assessments to ensure changes are in place.

•      Promote and increase preconception health messaging at the community level, using the community’s voice, creating communications toolkits with shared messaging.

•      Increase access to quality care and referrals for community resources.

•      Remove barriers to quality care through advocacy.

Every Baby Guilford also launched its first website today, EveryBabyGuilford.org, where more information about the five-year strategic plan may be found.

About Every Baby Guilford:

Established in 1991 as the Guilford County Coalition on Infant Mortality, Every Baby Guilford is a program of the Guilford County Department of Health and Human Services that works to reduce infant mortality by disrupting longstanding health outcomes and racial disparities in the county. More information can be found at EveryBabyGuilford.org.

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