Infant Mortality

All babies deserve the chance to thrive.

Mobilizing Communities

We established the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative (IMRI) in 2013 to address the disproportionately high rates of infant death in portions of St. Louis and the six counties that make up Missouri’s Bootheel. Through the use of a systems change framework, we are actively engaging community members in the planning and implementation of equity-focused strategies.

Why it matters:

The United States is a dangerous place to be a newborn. For Black families and families living in rural areas, it’s even more deadly. Between 2002 and 2012, more than 6,200 Missouri babies died before their first birthday. One-third of those deaths occurred in the Bootheel and St. Louis alone. Even more alarming are the increasing disparity gaps, resulting in Black babies dying at rates three-times higher than white babies. 

Infant mortality is a complex issue, influenced by a variety of factors, including structural racism and access to culturally-competent care.

How we’re changing things:

We are supporting partners who are leading collaborative efforts in their communities to identify and implement solutions. By bringing everyone to the table, we are developing new relationships, strengthening networks, and building community power. The result? A better future for Missouri’s tiniest citizens. 

Meet our IMRI partners:
FLOURISH St. Louis
Bootheel Babies and Families

initiative start: 2013
2023
Goal

A 15 percent reduction in infant mortality rates in St. Louis and the Bootheel over a 10-year period.

Our partners are working to address the complex causes of infant mortality.
600 infants
die every year on average in Missouri.
33% of infant deaths
in the state of Missouri occur in St. Louis or the Bootheel.
$180 million
in taxpayer money is spent yearly on premature births in Missouri.
2
community-based backbone organizations help lead the initiative.

Kathleen Holmes

Vice President of Strategic Initiatives

(314) 345-5572

kholmes@mffh.org

Volyia “Terry” Plain

Senior Strategist - Initiatives

(314) 345-5542

vplain@mffh.org