Infant Mortality

All babies deserve the chance to thrive.

Photo of a young Black father holding his young infant

About the initiative

We established the Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative 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.

Photo of young, pregnant, Blak woman standing in medical facility

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 lack of access to culturally-competent care.

Photo of cupcake with first birthday candle

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 relationshipsstrengthening networks, and building community power.

The result? A better future for Missouri’s tiniest citizens. 

Meet our IMRI partners:
Bootheel Babies and Families

Our partners are joining forces to address the complex causes of infant mortality.



die every year on average in Missouri.


of infant deaths

in the state of Missouri occur in St. Louis or the Bootheel.



in taxpayer money is spent yearly on premature births in Missouri.


community-based backbone organizations help lead the initiative.

Get in Touch

Reach out to one of our grantee contacts for more information.

Portrait of Kathleen Holmes
Kathleen Holmes, RN, MPH
Vice President of Strategic Initiatives
Headshot of Terry Plain
Volyia “Terry” Plain, MA
Senior Strategist – Initiatives