Health

Empowering moms – and dads – in the black infant mortality crisis

Stacy Scott spent 17 years working on safe sleep campaigns at the federal level before starting the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center.
Stacy Scott spent 17 years working on safe sleep campaigns at the federal level before starting the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center.
Priska Neely/KPCC
Stacy Scott spent 17 years working on safe sleep campaigns at the federal level before starting the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center.
After Stacy Scott gave a presentation about safe sleep during a church service at Family Baptist Church in Toledo, this dad approached her for more information.
Priska Neely/KPCC
Stacy Scott spent 17 years working on safe sleep campaigns at the federal level before starting the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center.
Members of the Toledo chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi during a presentation on infant mortality rates and safe sleep practices.
Priska Neely/KPCC


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Black babies in the United States are twice as likely to die before their first birthday as white babies. Across the country, researchers, health professionals and community organizers are trying, in ways big and small, to change that. 

Ohio has some of the highest infant mortality rates in the country, and in Toledo, black infants are three times as likely to die. Community organizations are focusing on tangible things that black moms and dads can to help. 

While most of the black babies who die are born premature, there are also higher rates for sleep-related deaths as babies grow.

"We always worked with moms and babes," said Stacy Scott, founder of the Global Infant Safe Sleep Center. "But I thought it would be great to be able to bring the dad into the conversation."

Through a partnership with the black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi, thousands of men across the country are getting training to be ambassadors. 

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Read more from this series on LAist:

This project received support from the Center for Health Journalism's California Fellowship and its Fund for Journalism on Child Well-being.