News & Updates


On Wednesday we celebrated 19 new graduates from our Connector Corps Program. This program trains members in our eight opportunity neighborhoods to conduct community outreach and build relationships to help the mothers get what they need and deserve before, during, and after pregnancy. The graduates had to go through training at The Ohio State University College of Nursing Community Health Worker Training Program, followed by nine months of part-time employment at a community agency. A big thank you to United Health Foundation, as we couldn’t have do this without their $1.7 million grant.  Early in the day, the Community Connectors were invited to the State Senate to receive recognition for their […]

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CelebrateOne is partnering with Mount Carmel Health System, OhioHealth, and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to provide a fleece SleepSack to babies born in Franklin County hospitals from December 12th through February 28th, all made possible through private community donations. The new program is intended to address the increase of sleep-related deaths during winter months. “Our community has rallied around mothers to support safe sleep practices in unprecedented ways,” said Mayor Andrew Ginther. “In addition to over 500 new safe sleep ambassadors trained by Columbus Public Health in 2017, we are grateful to our hospital partners for finding new ways to reinforce this timely message.” Over 2,000 SleepSacks per […]

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It’s the holiday season, which means lots of traveling, whether to visit family or go on vacation. Since most people don’t want to leave their young babies at home, we have five tips to follow the ABC’s of Safe Sleep while not at home. Remember that means: Alone Back Crib Every Nap. Every Night. Every Time.   1. When Driving Long Distances When spending long times in a car seat, many babies do fall asleep. In order to make this as safe as possible, there are a few things you can do. Ensure car seat is age-appropriate and up to safety standards. Keep seat empty. Much like in a crib, […]

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During his 2017 State of the City address, Mayor Andrew J. Ginther continued his focus on reducing infant mortality by asking the community to join CelebrateOne and Columbus Public Health to reach 500 Sleep Ambassadors by the end of the year. The goal was reached early at the end of October. “Everyone in the community has a role to play in helping to reduce the infant mortality rate in Columbus. We know that Safe Sleep practices are key to the work and that residents helping residents is critical to spreading the word about safe sleeping practices,” said Mayor Ginther. “I am deeply grateful to all of the individuals who have […]

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The Crane Group, together with members of the Crane family and The Crane Family Foundation, announced a $700,000 gift to CelebrateOne to go to the Community Connector Corps program and its partner in the fight against infant mortality, Moms2B. The gift is in recognition of the Crane Group’s 70th anniversary. “Our company has a long history of supporting neighborhoods in need and what could be a greater need than helping the youngest and most vulnerable among us not only to survive, but also thrive,” said Tanny Crane, president and CEO of Crane Group. The Crane Group, a family-owned holding and management company based in Columbus for 70 years, has been […]

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COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Can gift sleeping boxes reduce Ohio baby deaths? JoAnne Viviano March 8, 2017 A Los Angeles company is working with hospitals and health departments in Ohio to give away cardboard box beds for every newborn in the state this year in an effort to reduce the high infant-mortality rate. Supporters say these beds — inspired by boxes provided to every newborn in Finland for decades — can be used during an infant’s first months to reduce the risk of sleep-related deaths. Read the full article

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COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Infant mortality rises in Franklin County despite millions spent JoAnne Viviano and Rick Rouan March 5, 2015 The number of Franklin County babies dying before their first birthday is rising, two years into an initiative designed to cut the infant-mortality rate by 40 percent and eliminate racial disparities by 2020. The organization charged with reducing infant mortality in Franklin County has distributed cribs, helped pregnant women get to doctors and taught new mothers how and where their newborns should sleep. Read the full article

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COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Letter: King called for justice in health care January 16, 2017 Today, we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and remember his legacy of love and equality. As health commissioner, I am drawn to his inspirational quote: “Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane.” Sadly, almost 50 years later, inequality still exists in every area of health, including chronic disease rates, access to care and life expectancy. One of the most shocking health disparities in Columbus is infant mortality. Every year, 150 babies die before their first birthday — and African-American babies die at 2.5 times the rate of […]

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COLUMBUS DISPATCH: CelebrateOne workers graduate from training to help pregnant women in eight at-risk communities JoAnne Viviano December 23, 2016 A Columbus-area program focused on helping babies reach their first birthdays has trained 24 workers as part of a growing corps that targets eight at-risk communities to cut the infant mortality rate by 40 percent by 2020. The women, who graduated this month, are the first of 72 people being trained over three years as part of CelebrateOne’s Community Connector Corps to work with pregnant women, new moms and families. See full story

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COLUMBUS UNDERGROUND: Columbus Working to Fix Infant Mortality Rate Problem Lauren Sega December 15, 2016 The inaugural class of community health workers, from CelebrateOne’s Connector Corps program, were recognized Tuesday by Mayor Andrew Ginther and other city officials. The 24 women graduating spent the past year learning how to connect at-risk populations around Columbus with life-improving resources with the end goal of reducing Franklin County’s infant mortality rate. Graduate Claudia Ruiz Lopez, a bilingual connector working for St. Stephens Community House in the Linden neighborhood, said the training experience was stressful and eye opening. Her role at St. Stephens puts her in direct contact with the new American population, many […]

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COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Program seeks to curb sleep-related infant deaths in central Ohio Tim Feran October 30, 2016 The first year of safe-sleep training sessions concluded on Saturday morning, part of a multiyear effort to spread the word that babies should sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib free of suffocation risks. The sessions, designed to train “safe-sleep ambassadors,” are open to anyone in the community and are held at Columbus Public Health on Parsons Avenue. See full story

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COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Central Ohio hospitals show video on infant deaths to all new moms Earl Rinehart September 18, 2016 When newborn Titus Williamson-Cline turns 1, he’ll have no idea how his parents made sure his first year of life was healthy and safe. And that’s OK with the folks at CelebrateOne, an ongoing effort to reduce infant mortality in Franklin County. Just as long as he celebrates that first birthday. See full story

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WBNS: CelebrateOne’s mission to stop trend of infant mortality Tracy Townsend October 3, 2016 The statistics are not good: every week two to three babies in Franklin County die before the age of one. CelebrateOne’s mission is to reverse that trend and help babies live through their first year of life. The organization recently scored a federal grant to put more help in Columbus communities– linking new moms with familiar faces–and critical connections to keep their babies alive. These “faces” are part of what’s called the CelebrateOne Community Connector Corp. They are community health workers who will work on the front lines in eight Columbus neighborhoods with one mission. See […]

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THIS WEEK NEWS: Newly trained health staffers helping Moms2B Gary Seman August 9, 2016 Kalia Bond is 20 years old, about to have her first baby, and a little nervous. But her anxiety has been eased, she said, by Moms2B, a program that teaches pregnant women everything they need to know about caring for babies, from safe sleeping habits to breast feeding to scheduling health-care appointments. “I knew some people who went through this program, so it was pretty welcoming,” said Bond, who attends the program’s weekly classes at Grace Missionary Baptist Church on the Near North Side. See full story

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WBNS: CelebrateOne honors inaugural graduates, looking for more community health workers to reduce infant mortality Ashlee Baracy July 11, 2016 The first 16 Community Health Workers from CelebrateOne’s Community Connector Corps program were recognized by the Columbus City Council and United Health Foundation during a graduation ceremony this afternoon at City Hall. This inaugural class makes up 16 of the 72 Community Health Workers being trained over the next three years at Ohio State University College of Nursing, helping expand the number of community-based caregivers that are able to conduct outreach, build trust and reduce barriers to care that will help reduce the risk for increased rates of chronic morbidity […]

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WOSU: New Workers Fighting Infant Mortality Get Certification Steve Brown July 11, 2016 The first round of community health workers who’ll help try to reduce Columbus’ infant mortality rate graduate from their training on Monday. The workers will help educate mothers-to-be in Linden, the Near East Side, the Hilltop and other low-income neighborhoods where infant mortality rates rivals those of third-world countries. See full story  

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WCBE: Officials Driven To Do More To Reduce Infant Mortality By: Mike Foley May 5, 2016 Central Ohio officials say they’ve made progress in the effort to reduce the region’s infant mortality rate but stress it will take time and continued collective focus to see greater results. CelebrateOne released its first-year highlights yesterday. They include establishing a resident to resident engagement program to connect women and families with critical resources and increasing by almost 20 percent the number of Franklin County women of childbearing age enrolled in Medicaid. In the city’s eight priority neighborhoods based on where infant mortality is highest, enrollment in Medicaid increased almost 40 percent among pregnant […]

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10tv: Infant mortality task force, CelebrateOne, updates a year of progress By: Ashlee Baracy May 4, 2016 Every year, 150 babies in our community die each year before they reach their first birthday. That’s enough to fill six kindergarten classrooms. Columbus formed a plan two years ago to change that statistic and today, updated the progress of the program. View story here

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Columbus Dispatch: Groundwork set in Franklin County infant-mortality fight By: Lori Kurtzman May 4, 2016 The phone started ringing in January, and it hasn’t really stopped. More pregnant women are calling for help every day. That’s exactly what Isi Ikharebha wants to hear. “We want us to be the last call that they make,” said Ikharebha, the executive director of Physicians CareConnection, which oversees StepOne, a new service that connects pregnant women to prenatal care. StepOne launched in January, part of Franklin County’s CelebrateOne, a multi-layered initiative aimed at reducing infant mortality in the community. Since then, the two care coordinators who answer the StepOne calls have arranged more than 300 […]

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This Week News: Campaign stresses need for prenatal care By: Gary Seman January 26, 2016 With an ongoing goal of reducing infant mortality rates in central Ohio, Celebrate One is working on an initiative that will provide pregnant women with prenatal care information and patient referral services. Celebrate One is an organization run by an executive committee responsible for coordinating and supporting implementation of the Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task Force Plan. Set for a full launch in March, Step One is a program initiative to offer a network of healthcare resources, access to transportation, language interpretation services and links to insurance providers. “We know the earlier a woman enters prenatal […]

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Columbus Dispatch: New moms getting neighborhood help to combat infant mortality in Columbus By: Lori Kurtzman April 4, 2016 Antoine Scales Jr. took his first breath two years ago and died within an hour. His mother was stunned. Buried in grief, she never learned why he didn’t survive. “I shut down,” Delena Scales said. “I didn’t talk, really.” But in time, the 40-year-old South Linden resident found a way to tap into her loss. She became part of a focus group for a local infant-mortality reduction initiative and agreed to be featured in public-service announcements about babies who die too young. And now, she’s part of the first wave of health […]

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10tv highlights our grant announcement with United Health Foundation and speaks with Connector Corps members. By Ashlee Baracy WBNS February 18, 2016 Watch the Story Here   PHOTO SOURCE: ERIC GEORGE  

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Our Director of Community Strategies spoke with the Columbus Dispatch about a new grant that will support our Connector Corps Program. By Lori Kurtzman The Columbus Dispatch February 18, 2016 In a few months, 24 workers will fan out across the city in hopes of tackling the high rates of infant mortality that plague their neighborhoods. The group will be the first of 72 workers trained at Ohio State University’s College of Nursing to help connect new mothers, pregnant women and women of childbearing age to health and community services. “We recognize that for some women who are disconnected from services, that messenger is really important,” said Erika Clark Jones, director of […]

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Mayor Ginther and CelebrateOne’s Director and Director of Community strategies spoke with Governing Magazine about the work being done to reduce infant mortality in COlumbus. By Mattie Quinn Governing Magazine January 14, 2016 Health officials in Columbus, Ohio, have long known that they’re facing a health crisis. Ohio has the fourth-highest infant mortality rate in the country. In Franklin County, which includes Columbus, 150 infants a year — almost three a week — die before reaching their first birthdays. As officials studied the issue more, they realized the best way to fix it is to understand and address the unique problems leading to infant mortality in each individual neighborhood. Parts […]

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Columbus City Council President Andrew Ginther penned a Letter to the Editor in the Columbus Dispatch on the work of CelebrateOne and partners to reduce infant mortality. By Andrew Ginther The Columbus Dispatch Sunday, December 14, 2015 Last Sunday’s Dispatch article “ Long-acting birth control offered free to Columbus women” addressed the importance of increasing access to long-acting, reversible contraceptives (LARCs) and safely spaced births, both of which are key components of the CelebrateOne strategic plan. (For more information, see celebrateone.info). The plan incorporates recommendations made by the Greater Columbus Infant Mortality Task Force, found at gcinfantmortality.org, which address improving reproductive health planning. Nearly half of all pregnancies in Franklin County are […]

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The Columbus Dispatch highlights new program to improve access to birth control and reproductive health planning to South Side women. By Misti Crane The Columbus Dispatch Sunday, December 6, 2015 After the birth of her first son two years ago, Maria Guzman Rodriguez decided she wanted an IUD to prevent another pregnancy until she was ready. But when she learned the appointments and device combined could cost her as much as $1,000, she abandoned that plan. This time, after giving birth to another son in September, someone at the hospital told the 23-year-old Northwest Side woman about care she could get at little or no cost at Columbus Public Health. […]

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Safe Sleep: Good Day Marketplace Segment on Infant Safe Sleep Thursday, December 3, 2015 Columbus Public Health’s Karen Gray-Medina and Julie Wojno sat down with Shawn Ireland on Good Day Marketplace to discuss infant safe sleep and why babies should sleep alone, on their back, and in an empty crib. Watch the segment here 

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Safe Sleep: Parenting Magazine on the new CelebrateOne infant safe sleep campaign By Hollee Actman Becker The Short of It A new, in-your-face ad campaign from Celebrate One aims to teach parents the ABCs of Safe Sleep in an effort to reduce the risk of SIDS. The Lowdown Parents, do you know the ABCs of Safe Sleep? If not, a new multi-media ad campaign from Celebrate One may help you remember them. “Babies are to sleep Alone, on their Backs and in a safe Crib,” the video’s voiceover explains. “When we skip any of these steps…we put our babies at risk.” All the while, the camera slowly pans out from […]

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Safe Sleep: 10TV’s Jeff Hogan highlights the new CelebrateOne infant safe sleep campaign Monday, November 10, 2015 COLUMBUS, Ohio – Four years ago, Scott Widener had to bury his son, Jude, who died suddenly in his sleep. Since that time, the Columbus Division of Fire Paramedic has found reward in teaching safe sleep habits wherever he goes. As he says: “When you know better, you do better.” Widener says every emergency call includes a sweep of sleeping conditions and solutions on the spot if needed. A safe crib is just a phone call away and can be on site within roughly 20 minutes. Widener is part of a wider call to action around Columbus. The […]

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Safe Sleep: Ellie Merritt from NBC4 reports on the CelebrateOne safe sleep ad campaign Monday, November 9, 2015 COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH)– In an effort to keep babies alive, new billboards and TV commercials will be popping up soon in an effort to make sure people know the ABCs of safe sleep. The new ads can be hard to watch, but that’s the point. They want your attention, because already too many babies have died from the simple act of sleeping. You lay your baby down to sleep, and you go to get him, and he’s not breathing. It’s crushing,” said Columbus Firefighter Scott Widener. Widener knows the pain of losing […]

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Safe Sleep: WOSU story on the new CelebrateOne infant safe sleep campaign By Mandie Trimble Monday, November 9, 2015 In an effort to reduce infant deaths, Columbus Public Health is rolling out a new multi-media Safe Sleep campaign Tuesday. We sat down with a father who lost his son to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, in 2009. Nathan Hurd knew to put his son, Will, on his back when he was put to bed. Hurd did not know the blanket placed in the crib was unsafe. “I wish I could go back, and I always wonder what would’ve happened if he didn’t have that blanket with him,” Hurd said. Health experts say […]

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Safe Sleep: The Columbus Dispatch highlights the new CelebrateOne infant safe sleep campaign By Misti Crane The Columbus Dispatch Monday, November 9, 2015 Almost every Franklin County baby who dies while sleeping shares a bed with other people or pets, sleeps on his or her stomach or side or in a place other than a crib, bassinet or Pack-N-Play free of loose blankets, toys and other suffocation risks. Of 67 sleep-related deaths from 2012 through 2014, 89 percent of the babies were not alone, on their backs or in a crib. Almost all the remaining babies were exposed to other risks such as second-hand smoke or items in their cribs, […]

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Community Update: CelebrateOne Director Liane Egle was a guest on WOSU’s All Sides with Ann Fisher to discuss Columbus’s high infant mortality rates, and the work of CelebrateOne to address the most significant factors contributing to these rates such as: babies born too small or too soon; sleep-related deaths; exposure to tobacco smoke; and health inequities. Listen to the segment here.  

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Safe Sleep: The Columbus Dispatch highlights CelebrateOne Bare Crib is Best Campaign By Misti Crane The Columbus Dispatch Monday, October 26, 2015 Whether it’s a loose blanket, a medical device or a stuffed bunny, it doesn’t belong in a newborn’s crib. When hospitals in Franklin County took a close look at what was happening inside their own walls during the first half of this year, they discovered that they’re not doing such a grand job of modeling optimal safe-sleep techniques. Today’s advice calls for babies to sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib free of obstructions that pose a suffocation risk. That message is at the core of […]

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Community Update: CelebrateOne Director Liane Egle talks to Good Day Marketplace about infant mortality in Columbus, and what we are doing to reach our ambitious goal of reducing infant mortality by 40 percent and cutting the racial disparity gap in half over the next five years. Watch the segment here. Together we can, #CelebrateOne.

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Community Update: CelebrateOne commemorates Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day with the Strader and Welliver families CelebrateOne was honored to participate in an event today commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  In recognition of the day and in remembrance of their children being stillborn, the Strader and Welliver families came together to outfit five Central Ohio delivery hospitals with equipment to help ease the challenges families face in saying goodbye to their babies who die or are stillborn. One in 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth in the United States. A stillbirth is considered the death of a fetus at 20 or more weeks of pregnancy. Approximately 24,000 pregnancies ended in stillbirth […]

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Safe Sleep: The Columbus Dispatch highlights CelebrateOne Safe Sleep Ambassador trainings By Misti Crane The Columbus Disptach Thursday, October 15, 2015 Nobody expected that a training session on infant safe sleep would end in tears and embraces yesterday. This was a group of 17 women who work with families in the community through Action for Children, the United Way and the YMCA. They met at Columbus Public Health for the first of a series of safe-sleep training sessions designed to spread the word that babies should sleep alone, on their backs and in a crib free of suffocation risks, including blankets and pillows. Carneshia Edwards, a wellness coordinator for Action […]

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Community Update: South Siders help parents protect babies from infant mortality By Misti Crane The Columbus Disptach Sunday, September 27, 2015 It might be while she’s laughing at her grandkids as they chase each other in the park or on the stoop of Macedonia Baptist Church after Sunday service. It might be in line at the grocery. Lillie Banner has learned to find the moments when she can put her knowledge, kindness and caring to work and maybe help save an infant’s life. “I’m just a person who wants to help the community anyway I can,” Banner, 59, said last week during a volunteer shift at her Near East Side […]

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CelebrateOne releases RFI for prenatal centralized intake and referral service CelebrateOne, in partnership with the Ohio Better Birth Outcomes collaborative, is pleased to announce the release of the Request for Information (RFI) for a Prenatal Centralized Intake and Referral Service to assist pregnant women with identifying and securing early prenatal care in Franklin County. Any interested parties should complete the application and submit it via email to Katie Higgins at Katherine.higgins@nationwidechildrens.org by 5pm on October 9, 2015. Applicants will receive a confirmation email, within 24 hours of submission, that their submission was received. Please find the RFI here and the application here.  Too see the CelebrateOne brand guidelines, click here. […]

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Policy Update: 10TV and NBC4 on the Infant Mortality Congressional Roundtable On Monday, August 3, 2015, Congressman Steve Stivers, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty, and Congressman Pat Tiberi joined a room of local infant mortality experts to launch a dialogue about how they can join CelebrateOne in reducing the infant mortality rate in our City and State. Topics covered included: Crib bumpers and infant safe sleep Home visitation Insurance coverage Smoke-free housing 21st Century Cures to include infant mortality reduction For more details watch the NBC4 clip here and the 10TV clip here.  For additional information, read The Columbus Dispatch article here.

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Safe Sleep: Daytime Columbus’ Robyn Haines discusses the ABCs of Safe Sleep with Columbus Public Health’s Karen Gray-Medina. Too many babies are dying in our community in unsafe sleep environments.  In fact, three families lose a baby every week in Ohio due to unsafe sleeping conditions.  Preventing these deaths is as easy as learning your ABCs.  All babies should sleep alone, on their backs, and in an empty crib (no blankets, bumper pads, stuffed animals, or pillows). To hear the conversation and learn more, watch the TV segment here.

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Community Update: 10TV highlighted what CelebrateOne is doing to lower the infant mortality rate in Columbus. Click here to watch.

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CelebrateOne accomplishment: Central Ohio hospitals to deter early deliveries By Misti Crane The Columbus Disptach Friday, June 12, 2015 A week or two more in the womb can mean the difference between taking your baby home after she’s born and visiting her in the neonatal intensive-care unit. The final weeks of pregnancy are eventful. One-third of brain development transpires in the last month of a full-term, 39-week pregnancy. Babies gain weight and build muscle in those weeks. Their lungs get ready for the world. During the past decade, Ohio hospitals have seen a drop in the number of early deliveries for non-medical reasons such as a vacation-bound doctor or a […]

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Community Update: The Columbus Dispatch looks back at CelebrateOne’s first year. By Misti Crane The Columbus Dispatch Tuesday, July 14, 2015 Measuring success just a year into a community effort to prevent infant deaths is tricky. The rates don’t plummet overnight, and there’s some lag in collecting the data. The most current numbers still show that Franklin County families lose about 150 babies a year. Data available for the first four months of this year show that 50 babies died before they reached their first birthday, an infant-mortality rate of 8.3 per 1,000 live births — far above the goal of reducing it to 6. >> See Alarming Losses, the 2014  Dispatch series […]

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Policy Update: Congressional trio pushes crib bumper pad ban to reduce infant death rate By Misti Crane The Columbus Dispatch  Monday, August 3, 2015 A bipartisan push to stop the sale of crib bumper pads is on the agenda for a trio of central Ohio lawmakers who say they plan to work at the federal level to curb infant-death rates. U.S. Reps. Joyce Beatty, Steve Stivers and Pat Tiberi met with Columbus infant-mortality experts at Nationwide Children’s Hospital on Monday and left with a list of changes they say will save babies lives across the United States. In most cases, they’re aiming for fixes that don’t require a tedious legislative […]

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