CelebrateOne, United Health Foundation to Expand Program Focused on Reducing Infant Mortality Rates

  • $1.7 million grant by United Health Foundation will fund
    training and deployment of 72 Community Health Workers to educate
    mothers to-be, mothers and their families
  • Grant part of “Better Health in Local Communities” effort to
    improve health outcomes

COLUMBUS, Ohio–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Columbus Public Health, in support of CelebrateOne, will add 72 new
community health workers to conduct outreach to women of childbearing
age to help reduce infant mortality in eight Columbus communities,
funded by a $1.7 million partnership grant from United Health Foundation.

The grant will help address a critical public health need in Ohio.
According to United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings®, Ohio
ranks 44th in the nation in infant mortality, with more than
seven infant deaths before the age of one for every 1,000 live births.

“CelebrateOne is committed to the idea that the greatest gift our
community can give each baby is a healthy and safe first year of life,
setting him or her on a path to thrive each year beyond that,” said
Liane Egle, director, CelebrateOne. “This grant from United Health
Foundation is critical because the training and community building will
have lasting and positive effects on these families the program reaches.”

Collaboration Will Bolster Community-based Caregivers to Engage Moms
and Moms-to-Be

CelebrateOne is a community-engagement
initiative led by Columbus Public Health and the Greater Columbus
Mortality Task Force to reduce infant mortality by 40 percent and halve
the racial health disparity gap by 2020.

United Health Foundation’s grant over the next three years will enable
72 Community Health Workers to receive training, helping expand the
number of community-based caregivers that are able to conduct outreach,
build trust, and reduce barriers to care to help reduce the risk for
increased rates of chronic morbidity and infant mortality.

The goal is for the trained Community Health Workers to reach 27,000
women each year through the program in the Columbus communities of
Linden, Near South Side, Near East Side, Hilltop, Franklinton, Morse
Rd-161, the Northeast and Southeast. The Community Health Workers will
receive paid internships with CelebrateOne and work in the targeted
Columbus communities. Combined, these eight communities account for 42
percent of all Franklin County infant deaths, but make up only 29
percent of all Franklin County births.

“Celebrating a baby’s first birthday is always a meaningful milestone,
and in our community it is an especially critical one,” said Columbus
Mayor Andrew Ginther. “Thanks to partners like United Health Foundation,
CelebrateOne is reaching out and connecting more women with preventive,
prenatal and well-baby care, which is essential to ending the infant
mortality epidemic Columbus faces.”

“These types of collaborative, innovative community-based initiatives
are important to improving health outcomes in communities across the
nation, including right here in Columbus,” said Tracy Davidson, CEO,
UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Ohio. “Connecting moms and moms-to-be
with trained health workers in their communities and resources that can
make a difference in their lives will help these babies and their moms
live healthier lives.”

“I would like to thank United Health Foundation and CelebrateOne for
their work to help moms, expectant mothers and infants access the
resources and care they need. As a father of four daughters, I am
grateful for their efforts to help our community thrive with healthier
babies and stronger families,” said Congressman Pat Tiberi (R-OH).

“The partnership between Columbus Public Health and United Health
Foundation is exactly the type of collaborative approach we need to
tackle our toughest health care challenges,” said Congressman Steve
Stivers (R-OH). “By focusing on initiatives like CelebrateOne, this
public-private partnership will help community members live better lives
and keep our most precious resource, our children, safe and healthy.”

“Today’s announcement is excellent news for countless area families, and
illustrates United Health Foundation’s and CelebrateOne’s commitment to
ensuring every child has the opportunity to celebrate life’s many
milestones,” said Congresswoman Joyce Beatty (D-OH). “I have seen the
heartache of so many parents and future parents in our community. No mom
or dad should ever have to experience the gut-wrenching loss of a child.”

Tackling a Serious Public Health Crisis at the Local Level
Ohio having one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the nation,
taking steps to address this public health crisis is critical to
improving people’s health in Columbus. Columbus Public Health statistics
show that in Franklin County alone, approximately 150 babies die each
year before reaching the age of one.

CelebrateOne, in collaboration with United Health Foundation, will
bolster the Community Connector Corp, which seeks to increase the number
of women of childbearing age connected to health and social support
within their communities and social networks. The program has engaged
thousands of women and families at health fairs, churches, community
centers, civic meetings and support groups.

Lillie Banner, who is part of the Community Connector Corp in the South
Side, Reeb-Hosack neighborhood of Columbus, said: “This type of program
will have a lasting impact as we reach out to families door to door,
face to face and within their neighborhoods. The response we’ve seen
from participants is overwhelmingly positive and life-changing. This
collaboration with United Health Foundation will mean even more women
and their babies will be stronger, healthier and happier.”

The grant was announced at a community birthday party and educational
resource fair at the Reeb Avenue Center where Mayor Ginther joined
community leaders, including John McCarthy, director Ohio Department of
Medicaid, Teresa Long, Columbus Public Health commissioner, Priscilla
Tyson, president pro tem, Columbus City Council, John O’Grady,
president, Franklin County Board of Commissioners, State Sen. Jim
Hughes, State Representatives Hearcel Craig, Cheryl Grossman and Dave
Leland, Sue Wolf, community leader, and current and former CelebrateOne
participants, project partners and families to celebrate the first year
of the program, its early success and the new funding to expand the
program’s reach.

Several project partners were recognized for their ongoing support for
the program, including the Ohio State University College of Nursing,
Community Development for All People, Men 4 the Movement, J. Jireh
Ministries, Partner for Achieving Community Transformation (PACT), The
Neighborhood House, St. Stephen’s Community House, Gladden Community
House, YMCA, Somalican, Central Ohio Workforce Investment Corporation
and Columbus Neighborhood Pride Centers.

About CelebrateOne
In June 2014, the Greater Columbus Infant
Mortality Task Force ended its 6-month process with the release of its final
to the residents of Franklin County. In it were eight
recommendations to reduce the community’s alarming infant mortality rate
by 40 percent and cut the racial health disparity gap in half by 2020.
CelebrateOne was created in November 2014 to carry out the Task Force’s
recommendations and ensure Franklin County meets its ambitious goal.
Learn more at www.celebrateone.info.

About Columbus Public Health
The department is charged with
assuring conditions in which people can be healthy. Columbus Public
Health is made up of a range of programs providing clinical,
environmental, health promotion, and population-based services. The
department has an annual budget of approximately $50 million and is
staffed by 400 full-and part-time employees. Learn more at www.columbus.org.

About United Health Foundation
Through collaboration with
community partners, grants and outreach efforts, United Health
Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and
dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local
communities. United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth
Group (NYSE: UNH) in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation
dedicated to improving health and health care. To date, United Health
Foundation has committed more than $285 million to programs and
communities around the world. We invite you to learn more at www.unitedhealthfoundation.org
or follow @UHGGives
on Twitter or Facebook.com/UHGGives.

* Source: 2007-2012 Ohio Department of Health Vital Statistics Data
Analyzed by Columbus Public Health

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United Health Foundation
Tony Marusic, 312-363-7714
Public Health
Jose Rodriguez, 614-604-5025