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Health Officials Host Labor Of Love Summit To Shine Light On Infant Deaths
Updated November 11, 2014 10:14 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - State health officials will gather with state, local and national leaders Thursday for the second annual summit to reduce infant deaths in Indiana.

This year's event, the "Labor of Love Summit: Helping Indiana Reduce Infant Mortality," will focus on engaging partners around the state to find evidence-based solutions to reducing infant deaths and raise awareness about current efforts.

"One baby dies every 13 hours in Indiana," said State Health Commissioner Jerome Adams, M.D., M.P.H. "This is a startling and heartbreaking statistic. The summit's mission is to gather the health experts and community and faith-based leaders together in one place where we can share information about what is currently being done, identify needs and learn from one another in an effort to save infant lives."

The death of a baby before his or her first birthday is called infant mortality. The infant mortality rate is an estimate of the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This rate is often used as an indicator to measure the health and well-being of states and nations.

In 2011, the Indiana infant mortality rate was 7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, making the Hoosier state the 6th highest in the nation for infant mortality.

The morning session features David Olds, Ph.D., as the keynote speaker. He is the founder of Nurse Family Partnership, an evidenced-based home visiting program that is used in Marion County and operated by Goodwill Industries. Dr. Olds will discuss the effectiveness of home visiting programs for reducing infant death.

In addition, Angela Patterson, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer for CVS Health, will discuss CVS's recent decision to stop selling tobacco products in their stores and the overall importance of smoking on health, particularly as it relates to mothers and as a contributing factor in infant mortality. The rate of Indiana mothers who smoke is twice the national average.

Mother, Maura Hanke, will tell the story about the tragic death of her baby, Charlie, who passed away while sleeping in an unsafe situation. She, along with Charlie's grandfather, Gary, established Charlie's Foundation to educate others about infant safe sleeping.

The afternoon will consist of breakout sessions on several key topics including smoking cessation, safe sleep, breastfeeding and prescription drug abuse.

"The summit provides the opportunity to hear from a wide variety of health experts and community organizations that are working to reduce infant mortality every day," said Dr. Adams. "I encourage anyone who is involved in infant health, whether it is in the medical field or out in the community, to join us on Thursday for this no-cost, valuable event."

The top five causes of infant mortality in the United States are:

  • Serious birth defects
  • Baby born too small and too early (preterm, low birthweight)
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Baby affected by maternal complications
  • Baby is the victim of injuries (e.g., suffocation deaths)
Access to health care, lack of prenatal care, tobacco use, limited physical activity and diet and nutrition are factors that can contribute to negative pregnancy and birth outcomes, which can lead to increased infant mortality. The Labor of Love Summit is on Thursday, November 13 at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis. There is no cost to attend but attendees are asked to register in advance. Register at Join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by using the hash tag #LaborofLove14. Visit the Indiana State Department of Health at for important health and safety information or follow us on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at

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