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DHPE Webinar: SISTERS UNITED to Eliminate Infant Mortality Disparities
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Practical Applications from the Arkansas Department of Health

When: February 25, 2014
2:00 - 3:00 PM EST
Where: Webinar
Contact: Steve Owens

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Sisters UnitedPresenter:

Michelle R. Smith, PhD, MPH
Director, Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities
Arkansas Department of Health
Little Rock, Arkansas



Overview: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 25,000 infants die each year in the United States. The loss of a baby remains a sad reality for many families and takes a serious toll on the health and well-being of families, as well as the nation. In 2009, 315 babies died in Arkansas before their first birthday. African American babies accounted for 20% of total births. However, they accounted for 33% of infant deaths.

Arkansas has historically had one of the highest infant mortality rates in the U.S. In 2011, the infant mortality rate overall was 7.3 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. For African Americans, it was 11.8 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. In response to the infant mortality rate, the Arkansas Department of Health developed a community based initiative with graduate African American sororities across the state and formed a group known as Sisters United. The goal of this group is to raise awareness within the African American community and promote practices proven to reduce infant mortality. This webinar will provide an overview of the Arkansas Department of Health’s efforts to address infant mortality through the Sisters United initiative.

Objectives: By the end of the webinar, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the burden of infant mortality in Arkansas’ African American communities.
  • Describe a state health agency role in reducing infant mortality.
  • Describe key components of an initiative aimed at reducing infant mortality.

You Tube Videos Featured during the presentation:

Sisters United - Safe Sleep

Sisters United Impact Video

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