By Renee Mahaffey Harris, Health Gap COO
Within the past 100 years, infant mortality has continued to be a disparity that persists in our community. When looking at the astonishing numbers of infant deaths, it undeniably originates from racism. Many African American infants are dying by lack of proper pre-natal and post-natal care, access to pre-natal and post-natal education, and the institutional racism that remains to thrive in our health system.
I applaud Cradle Cincinnati and their stance on addressing infant mortality as an issue of race and racial disparities during the 2018 Infant Mortality Summit. The acknowledgment that closing the gap needs to begin with a grassroots, collaborative movement proves what many, including The Health Gap have been saying.
The Health Gap will continue to move the needle in closing the gap by our grassroots model that engages, empowers, and advocates for those who are unjustly underserved by our health care system. Working collaboratively will decrease the alarming numbers of African American babies dying at three times the rate as their white counterparts. The access to accurate health information and quality health care will equip African Americans with the education to be more empowered while navigating the health care system. This model will begin to change the social determinants that affect African American communities and close the gap of infant mortality that continues to carry on in our city, state, and country.