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When Gov. Eric Holcomb challenged Indiana to lower its infant mortality rate to the best in the Midwest by 2024, we knew we were going to need different approaches to improve outcomes for Hoosier moms and babies.

In 2017, 602 babies died before their first birthdays in Indiana. While that rate is lower than 2016, our work isn’t done.

To more effectively tackle this public health problem, we must address disparities and socioeconomic factors that prevent a woman from accessing prenatal care early and continuing that care for both herself and her baby, provide education about safe sleep practices, and improve the overall health of Indiana mothers, to name just a few areas of need.

These are not issues that any one of us can address alone. It will take communities working together to make sure the needs of every mom and baby are met. That’s why this year’s Labor of Love Infant Mortality Summit is all about Connecting Communities ― linking pregnant women to services where they live and connecting community-based organizations to each other so they can accomplish more together.

In one community, that could mean a home visiting or paramedicine program. In another area of our state, a faith-based organization or a mental health facility may step up to bridge the gap. While the description of “community” may be different throughout our state, our need to make that local connection and wrap our arms around mothers and babies is the same.

At ISDH, we’re working to help build those connections through a new OB Navigator program that was approved by state lawmakers and signed by Gov. Holcomb. This essential program will help us break down the barriers that prevent pregnant women from accessing care. To do that, we are building a network of services and support to wrap our arms around those in need.

I encourage you to join us Dec. 11 for the seventh annual infant mortality summit to find ways you, too, can build those critical connections. By working together to link Indiana moms and babies to health care in their communities, we’ll improve the lives of both and celebrate more first birthdays in Indiana.

Yours in Health,
Kris Box, MD, FACOG
State Health Commissioner

Headline Speakers

We have assembled an exciting lineup of experts from across the United States to join us in a conversation around disparities and their relation to infant mortality in Indiana.  

Speakers › 

Continuing Education

A basic continuing education certificate of attendance will be available to all attendees. You many pick it up at the Registration Table at the conclusion of the Summit.




Breakout and Poster Session Submissions


Submit a proposal for a breakout or poster session. Share your experience and provide tools and insight to help attendees address maternal health and its impact on infant mortality. This year’s focus is on Connecting Communities.

Submit a proposal › 

Sponsors & Exhibitors

The ISDH is seeking sponsorships for the Sixth Annual Infant Mortality Summit. Well-attended and well-received, the Summit attracts over 1,200 participants from across the State of Indiana.

Become a sponsor ›



What are health disparities?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, health disparities are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence, or opportunities to achieve optimal health that are experienced by socially disadvantaged populations. Populations can be defined by factors such as race or ethnicity, gender, education or income, disability, geographic location (e.g., rural or urban), or sexual orientation. Health disparities are inequitable and are directly related to the historical and current unequal distribution of social, political, economic, and environmental resources.

Health disparities result from multiple factors, including

  • Poverty

  • Environmental threats

  • Inadequate access to health care

  • Individual and behavioral factors

  • Educational inequalities

Citation: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/disparities/

About Labor of Love

Labor of Love is a product of the Indiana State Department of Health in cooperation with other organizations.

Infant mortality is the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. The United States is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, yet it has an unacceptably high rate of infant mortality compared to other wealthy countries.

The problem is particularly significant in Indiana, where the overall infant mortality rate was 7.5 infant deaths for every 1,000 live births in 2016.

To combat unacceptable rates of infant mortality in Indiana, the Indiana State Department of Health, through its Maternal and Child Health program, is initiating a statewide sustained education and outreach effort. This has been identified as the agency’s No. 1 priority.

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