Infant mortality and low birthweight are serious issues affecting our nation’s health. In Dallas County, infants have a mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per every 1,000 live births. According to the 2016 Dallas County Community Health Needs Assessment, this rate is higher than state and national averages. Each September during National Infant Morality Awareness Month, Dallas Healthy Start, a Parkland Health & Hospital System program, hosts events to educate the public about ways to achieve healthy outcomes for mothers and babies.
“Our most powerful tool is education,” said Martha Maldonado, Health Education Program Coordinator with Dallas Healthy Start. “Our goal is to empower our communities to take charge of their health.”
Dallas Healthy Start seeks to reduce infant deaths, pre-term births, low-weight births and other health conditions. The program offers services in seven ZIP codes that have the highest rates of infant deaths in Dallas County and provides prenatal and parenting education, well baby care, food and housing assistance, among other services. Dallas Healthy Start at Parkland, in conjunction with Medical City Dallas Hospital, will host The 11th Infant Mortality Awareness Summit on Friday, Sept. 7 from 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. at Medical City Dallas Hospital, 7777 Forest Lane, Dallas, 75230. The event is open to the public. Admission is $30 and the registration deadline is Aug. 24. The keynote speaker is Arthur R. James, MD, an obstetrician, gynecologist and pediatrician currently serving as a member of the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality.
“Dr. James will speak about the importance of achieving equity in birth outcomes,” Maldonado said. “Infant mortality and low birthweight rates are significantly higher among African American, Hispanics and Native American women than that of Caucasians.”
Experts from Parkland, Baylor University Medical Center, the National Network of Public Health Institutes (NNPHI) and others will focus on current state and local healthcare initiatives, including preconception health and maternal mortality. On Saturday, Sept. 8, babies, buggies and a bevy of advocates for healthy families will gather during the fourth annual Baby Buggy Walk in the Park. The free-to-the-public event is scheduled for 11a.m. – 2 p.m. at Southwest Center Mall, 3662 W. Camp Wisdom Road, Dallas, 75237. Families will learn about safe sleep, child car safety, women’s reproductive health and family planning at the event. Other Parkland departments and community partners will also provide education and resources. “We encourage everyone to come to the event to learn about healthy eating habits, exercise and health-related resources in their communities,” Maldonado said.
For more information about The 11th Infant Mortality Awareness Summit contact Judith Phillips at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information about the Baby Buggy Walk in the Park or Dallas Healthy Start, please call 214-590-1670.