News Home
Quick Bites
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
On AirNewsClassical
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Greater Akron Chamber

Hennes Paynter Communications


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )

Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Health and Medicine

Canton tries to figure out the role of racism in infant deaths
The city and Ohio launch a three-year effort to study why Ohio's infant mortality rate is among the worst in the nation

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Canton Health Commissioner Jim Adams says the study of infant mortality will range from institutional racism to person-to-person support.
Courtesy of Canton Health Department
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio is now 48th in the nation in infant mortality, 49th when it comes in African-American babies.  And a new national, state and local effort to change that is underway. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze spoke with Canton Health Commissioner Jim Adams about the effort to inventory programs now in place and see where they can go in the next three years.

LISTEN: A Q and A with Jim Adams

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:22)

By city standards, it’s a pretty small investment. By health officials’ measures, it’s potentially huge.

Canton City Council OK’d a $20,000 contract with a national group to work with a local group to figure out why so many babies – especially in Ohio’s urban areas – are dying. The Ohio rate is 7.7 deaths for every 1,000  births. And Jim Adams says there’s a lot of human pain in those numbers.

The really sad part about the rates is that while, generally national rates are improving, in Ohio that trend is actually getting worse. … But the real tragedy of the story is the disparity of birth outcomes between white children and African-American children. In Stark County, African-American babies are dying at a rate almost three times more often than white babies.”

Big issues and closer to home
He says the reasons may include the obvious: poverty, education, health care. But the focus of the project is to dig deeper to potential root causes within the Stark community.

“There are some suggestions that unless a community really examines the role that racism plays in their community in setting up these biases that we’re never really going to improve these rates.”

Adams acknowledges that three years in a health study is not very long. But three years in a mother and child’s life is huge. So the community is trying to address short-term, as well as long-term solutions.

“We’re going to be challenged to look at things like poverty, jobs, economics. … But we’re going to have to start doing something (before the end of the study) if we’re going to make some long-term, lasting improvement in the community.”

That includes supporting projects such as “centering pregnancy,” in which a group of women schedule their prenatal visits together and will likely continue their informal support group after their children are born.

The state of Ohio has set up the Ohio Equity Institute to work with nine urban areas to reduce infant mortality. The contract Canton council approved with the National Organization for Urban Maternal and Child Health Leaders, which will provide training and consultation  for the project.

Adams notes that the only state with a worse mortality rate than Ohio for African-American babies is Indiana.

Listener Comments:

I live in Canton and was appalled at the statistics quoted by our Health Commissioner. How in the world are we living in the 21st century and still seeing this shocking disparity in the mortality rates between african american babies and white babies? On this day as we are remember Dr. Martin Luther King's"I Have a Dream" speech we realize that this country still has a long way to go to reach the dream of equality for all of it's citizens.

Posted by: Anne DeGraffinreed (Canton Ohio) on August 29, 2013 12:08PM
Add Your Comment


E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook

Stories with Recent Comments

Backers of legalizing marijuana in Ohio promise to be back in 2016
We should be aloud to grow more than 4 plants and not have to register with the state considering it will be a free market.

Akron says it's had no second thoughts about welcoming refugees
What business does Councilman Neal own on North Hill? I'd love to support him. I am so glad to have the refugees in our neighborhood. I have lived here for 25 ...

Scarborough says the University of Akron is trying to rebuild relationships
In order for the University of Akron to grow and become a desirable place for students across Ohio and elsewhere, it must address the crime problem in the Akron...

Ohio Sen. Cliff Hite wants to end pay-to-play sports fees at Ohio's schools
You can bet Hite and Husted will also rush to the rescue of the Academic Challenge team, the speech-and-debate squad, the Science Olympians and the chess club. ...

Ohio lawmakers consider new gun bills
States that have gun restrictions/cities have reduced gun violence is false. CHICAGO has some of the toughest gun laaws/restrictions but yet fun violence is off...

Cleveland's public transit system considers fare increase for 2016
I work with individuals with disabilities. Yes some of my folks need more help than the average person. As a whole, the group I work with however can manuver ju...

Community group sues to re-open part of Wadsworth hospital
My father was part of the founding group of citizens which started the "new" Wadsworth/Rittman Hospital. For some reason the leadership for the future of the ho...

The Cleveland Museum of Art presents painters who loved their gardens
brilliant masterpiece, Greetings from

Ohio Sen. Tom Patton proposes bill for firefighter cancer benefits
Thank you Senator Patton. On behalf of all of those who love our firefighters; we appreciate that someone is standing up for them and their continued health. ??...

Copyright © 2015 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University