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Avondale targeted as first site to improve low birth rates

A premature baby sleeps in an incubator.

The launch of the StartStong initiative is the pilot for what may become a national model to lower pre-mature birthrates.

StartStrong is a geographically focused initiative to redesign healthcare delivery and reduce preterm birth rates. The program launched Tuesday evening, March 11 at Avondale Southern Baptist Church and is open to the public.

Avondale was identified as a high risk neighborhood and has one of the highest pre-term birthrates in the country. The risk factors, and the neighborhood’s close proximity to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital secured Avondale as the launch for the pilot program. 

Ozie Davis is a lifetime Avondale resident and President of the Avondale Comprehensive Development Corporation. 

“From a community perspective, the StartStrong program is about creating a healthy beginning. Avondale has long battled infant mortality issues and the StartStrong program gives us an opportunity to really address it and have an impact on families here in the neighborhood,” said Davis.

The StartStrong initiative is another link in the chain of programs focused on infant mortality rates in Cincinnati. Hamilton County, as reported by Tana Weingartner, experiences 9.9 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births. This statistic is much higher than the national average of 6.1 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births.

StartStrong is a collaborative effort between area healthcare providers and research programs including The Center for Prevention of Preterm Birth, Cradle Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Good Samaritan Hospital, TriHealth and Every Child Succeeds.

In 2012 Cincinnati Children's established the Center for the Prevention of Preterm Birth, reported by Ann Thompson in Focus on Technology.