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5 Indiana organizations get federal funds to address maternal, infant health disparities

A newborn baby cries.
Indiana programs will provide a variety of services, including expanded access to doulas, increased care coordination services and addressing barriers to postpartum care.

Nearly $5 million in federal funding is going to community organizations and hospitals in Indiana to address the state’s persistent disparities in infant and maternal health outcomes.

Five organizations will receive funding to address the health care and social needs of parents and infants.

Indiana programs will provide a variety of services, including expanded access to doulas, increased care coordination services and addressing barriers to postpartum care.

Carole Johnson, the administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration, said the program is meant to connect federal funding to organizations that understand the unique challenges their community faces.

“Health care isn't just about what happens to the hospital,” Johnson said. “It's about what happens in neighborhoods across the country, including in neighborhoods across Indiana.”

She said this program is a part of a larger effort to address the county’s maternal and infant mortality rates — which are among the worst in the world.

“The value to us of being able to directly drive federal dollars to neighborhoods in Indiana is that, you know what the issues are,” Johnson said. “You know what the needs are, and you'll be able to help address what women in your community need.”

READ MORE: Preliminary data shows decrease to infant mortality. Expert says rate is consistent but concerning

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Johnson said HRSA limited the number of awards to six per state to ensure the money would be spread out — and Indiana receiving five awards is impressive.

“This is a critical time for these dollars to be coming to Indiana communities,” Johnson said. “We know that you all have been closely tracking these rates in your communities. One death of a mom or infant is one too many, and we need to be making that a never event. And that's what our resources here are really focused on.”

The funding comes from the Healthy Start Program, which will provide the same amount every year for five years — as long as congress continues funding the program.

Awards for each program range from about $900,000 to more than $1 million. The five organizations include Healthier Moms and Babies in Fort Wayne; The Health and Hospital Corporation of Marion County in Indianapolis; Memorial Hospital of South Bend; Union Hospital in Terre Haute; and Indiana Rural Health Association in Washington.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

Copyright 2024 Indiana Public Broadcasting

Abigail Ruhman

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