Dear Friends,

It is always a pleasure to share good news about successful outcomes of collaboration and the ways in which it benefits our community. Better Health's partners know this all too well as they have worked hard to make great strides in improving the management of adult and child chronic disease across Northeast Ohio over the last 14 years. It takes time, talent and tenacity to get to each milestone!

Our featured article today showcases the positive results of First Year Cleveland's collective impact on premature births and infant mortality in Cuyahoga County — a shining example of "it takes a village" to change outcomes with complex health and social issues.

We are excited about the progress to date and look forward to building on this success to reach our shared goal of "every child deserves to celebrate their first birthday."

Congratulations First Year Cleveland!

Warm regards,

Rita Horwitz
President and CEO
Better Health Partnership


For the past two decades, the leading contributing factor to infant deaths in our region has been prematurity. One of First Year Cleveland's priorities is to decrease extreme prematurity in our community and ensure that more babies live to see their first birthday. Results to date are promising as 2020 preliminary data shows an 11.4 preterm birth rate — the lowest rate reported since 2015 which was 14.9! But — we still have work to do as racial disparities persist and the goal for 2020 is to reduce the rate to less than 10 percent.

Better Health Partnership and FYC Action Team 4 members are focusing on this issue by actively:
  • Conducting Learning Circle programs with birth hospital clinical teams
  • Improving access to prenatal care and timely interventions to help prevent preterm birth
  • Addressing social determinants impacting expectant parents by referring pregnant mothers to results-driven interventions like home visiting and the Better Health Pathways Community HUB
The drop in rates is largely due to the combined efforts of all First Year Cleveland activists mobilizing the community to do better and their strategies are working. Thank you to all for your dedication to saving our babies in Cuyahoga County!
Cuyahoga County Infant Mortality Dropped To Lowest Rate In 30 Years

Preliminary data shows the infant mortality rate in Cuyahoga Country dropped to 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020, the lowest rate in 30 years. But deep racial disparities continued to persist, with Black infants more than twice as likely to die than white babies.

Of the more than 13,000 babies born in the county in 2020, 100 did not survive through their first year of life. And of the 100 infants that sadly passed away, 73 were Black. Black babies accounted for more than 80 percent of the county’s pre-term births.
Additional Infant Mortality News

The CDC classifies infant mortality as the death of an infant before his or her first birthday. The infant mortality rate is the number of infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. In addition to giving us key information about maternal and infant health, the infant mortality rate is an important marker of the overall health of a society. In 2018, the infant mortality rate in the United States was 5.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Towards a Lead Safe Cleveland

Governor Mike DeWine announced the state's new H2Ohio initiative to replace aging lead pipes throughout daycares in Cleveland. Nearly 400 area daycare centers are connected to lead pipes, according to the Cleveland Water Department.

According to the Ohio Department of Health, lead typically enters drinking water through corroded materials containing lead in water lines and household plumbing. It can replace iron and calcium throughout the body along with a laundry list of other harmful effects, especially in children.
The Better Health Pathways HUB

The Better Health Pathway HUB’s ever-growing network of care coordination agencies have opened over 2,000 pathways for children, adults and pregnant women for social-economic needs, medical referrals, education & employment resources, housing, prenatal care and more. To get help for you or someone you know call our HUB hotline today at 216-778-7525.

To learn more about our HUB staff and services, click here.
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