heather may Feb 13, 2011
Utahns are helping develop a campaign to improve the health of American Indian babies and mothers.
As part of a national effort to reduce infant deaths among the group, American Indian mothers and fathers were invited to the Indian Walk-In Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday to brainstorm effective and culturally appropriate ways to promote healthy pregnancies and babies.
“We wanted to get perspectives from American-Indian parents about infant mortality, what a healthy baby means to them, what a safe baby means to them,” said Leanna Vankeuren, the center’s health program manager.
The Utah center, along with groups in Detroit, Sacramento and Seattle, were given a grant by the Urban Indian Health Institute (UIHI) to help develop and pilot a communications campaign to raise awareness about infant mortality and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
American Indians living in urban areas have a higher infant death rate (8.1 per 1,000 live births) compared to all races in urban areas (6 per 1,000 births), according to the UIHI.
American-Indian babies are more likely than babies of other races to die of congenital anomalies, SIDS and unintentional injuries.
And American-Indian mothers have higher rates of the factors that put them at risk of having a child die: Being a teenage mother, being unmarried, receiving little or no prenatal care and consuming alcohol or smoking while pregnant.
The Indian Walk-In Center interviewed five mothers as part of its Saturday focus group, Vankeuren said.