$4.5 million Healthy Start Grant helping Wabash Valley professionals fight high infant mortality numbers

The Wabash Valley has one of the highest ranks of infant mortality in the State of Indiana. With the help of a federally funded grant, they hope to make sure families are well equipped.

Posted: Apr 23, 2019 10:07 PM
Updated: Apr 24, 2019 12:02 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - According to the Centers or Disease Control, In 2017, 22,000 infants died from infant mortality.

In the Wabash Valley, 29 didn't make it to their first birthdays. 

"It's a shock...it's scary," said Dr. Jacqueline Holder, a pediatrician and medical director at Union Hospital. 

Health officials are standing up to this statistic and taking up a new initiative.

It's called the Healthy Start program. It's a federally funded program and it's given the Richard G. Lugar Center for Rural Health a $4.5 million grant. It's going to help professionals combat this issue within the communities. 

"We're going to do something about it. We're going to take this grant and we're going to put it to the resources that we need," said Dr. Holder. 

There are multiple places that will use the money from the Center. One, in particular, is the Wabash Valley Crisis Pregnancy Center or the CPC. They plan to get out into communities that can't access their center with programs that will help parents be more equipped. 

"We go into Parke County, Clay County Sullivan County to help those who maybe cannot get into the center," said Carol Lucas, the nurse manager for the medical unit currently. She believes the mobile unit reach more people. 

"No one wants to see an infant die and especially if it's a preventable situation, education is key," said Lucas.

Officials are training everyone right now. They expect that everything will be in full motion by the end of June. 

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