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Akron, Ohio

Mayor Horrigan and Full Term First Birthday Collective Release Three-Year Strategic Plan to Improve Birth Outcomes and Reduce Racial Health Disparities


City of Akron Press Release
From the desk of Ellen Lander Nischt
Published: 03-20-2019

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan hosted his third Health Equity Summit at the John S. Knight Center. The Summit brought together representatives from health care, community services, government, faith organizations, education and others to discuss the social determinants of health and health equity. The Summit included an update from Full Term First Birthday, the infant vitality collective formed to coordinate efforts to reduce infant mortality in Akron and surrounding communities.


“I created Full Term First Birthday (FTFB) in 2017 to address the unacceptably high rate of infant mortality in Akron and the significant disparity in birth outcomes between white and African American infants,” Mayor Horrigan said. Tamiyka Rose, the City’s first Health Equity Ambassador, leads and coordinates the work of the FTFB collective, to ensure a unified voice focusing on infant vitality in our community.


“While significant work remains, and unacceptable racial disparities persist, I’m pleased to report that our infant mortality rate has decreased by 9% since 2016, from 7.55 to 6.90 per 1000 live births,” Mayor Horrigan reported. “Every Akron mother deserves an equal opportunity to reach full-term during their pregnancy, and celebrate their child’s first birthday—regardless of zip code. Working alongside our partners, I remain committed to giving every single Akron baby a fighting chance at a thriving, bright future.”


Today, the FTFB collective released its three-year strategic plan, available here.  The overarching goal of FTFB is to engage and empower the Akron community to support and promote healthy full-term pregnancies and safe sleep for babies.  The strategic plan focuses on the social determinants of health and integration and coordination of agency agendas, with an emphasis on cultural competency. 


“To truly be effective, services for expectant mothers must be culturally responsive, family centric, evidence based, and available in close proximity to family and neighborhood support systems,” Health Equity Ambassador Tamiyka Rose said. “Further, by addressing structural racism and implicit bias—both within health care and the broader community—we can begin to close the gap in outcomes between our white and African American infants.”


As the FTFB collective looked to the future, Mayor Horrigan thanked the stakeholders for their work so far. “While we come from different disciplines and backgrounds, we share a common goal: healthy Akron moms and babies. True coordination isn’t easy and I would like to thank all our Summit sponsors and our Full Term First Birthday partners for doing this necessary and difficult work. We must continue to strengthen one another and work together to address the root causes of inequitable health outcomes across our community.”


For further information, contact:
Ellen Lander Nischt
Press Secretary
Phone: 330-208-7784
E-mail: [email protected]

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