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Risk Factors for Infant Mortality in Maryland

Maryland Health Care Commission project includes Marian Moser-Jones, Edmond Shenassa and Marie Thoma

Faculty Associates Marian Moser Jones, Edmond Shenassa and Marie Thoma (right) along with other investigators from the Department of Family Science, the School of Public Health and the Maryland Center for Health Equity are starting a year-long study for the Maryland Health Care commission analyzing the risk factors that surround infant mortality.

The U.S. shows the highest infant mortality rates among all developed countries, and the death rate is approximately three times higher for black women and their infants than white women. For the state of Maryland specifically, the highest rates are found in heavily black areas such as Baltimore City, and rural counties such as Somerset and Worcester. Health disparities on race and geography persist across maternal and child health issues and the 17-member research team is working to understand why.

As part of the larger state study, Thoma and some of her students are now developing the inventory of Maryland programs combating infant mortality. The process involves collecting data on each program, interviewing program directors about their work and conducting an online survey to gather further details.

Preliminary analyses are due in May and the project's initial report to the State of Maryland is scheduled for November 2019.