Healthy Start Coalition reports County decrease in infant mortality rate

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY — The Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition (IRCHSC) gathered the alumni of “Dancing with Vero’s Stars” so Kathie Cain, Executive Director could thank members for their support and make an important announcement. The event, consisting of former star dancers, committee members and the Board of Directors of the non-profit organization, was held at Quail Valley on Sept. 17.

“I am overwhelmed with joy tonight to be able to report that we have made a significant drop in the infant mortality rate in this county,” said Cain.

“This major accomplishment was the result of community specific efforts to reduce infant mortality and by applying resources where the needs were the greatest for infant health and development. In 2013, IRCHSC started an infant mortality awareness campaign involving all maternal and child advocates in our community Partner’s in Women’s Health, Florida Woman Care of Indian River County, Indian River Medical Center, and the County Health Department working toward this common goal,” Cain added. “As Executive Director, my number one priority has been to reduce infant mortality and reduce the number babies lost. From 2011 to 2014 babies lost decreased from 16 a year to six. Indian River County was significantly above the state average over the last four years but in 2014 Indian River dropped below the state and national averages.

Why is this important? The infant mortality rate (deaths to infants less than one year old per 1,000 live births) is considered a sentinel indicator for the overall health of a population. It is related to maternal health, public health practices, socio-economic conditions, and the ability to access appropriate healthcare for infants and pregnant women. The leading causes of infant deaths are related to short gestations, low birth rate, congenital malformations, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Glenn Tremml, President of the Board of Directors reports, “The dollars raised by our Star Dancers at our signature yearly fundraiser Dancing with Vero’s Stars has allowed our organization to significantly increase services, programs and staff to help educate and support our community’s pregnant mothers and young families with children, I believe it is having a real impact on our community and we are extremely thankful to all our Stars efforts in making this possible. They should be very proud.”

The Quail Valley event ended with 10 small cakes each with an individual candle to remind everyone to celebrate the first birthdays of more children in our community.

The Indian River County Healthy Start Coalition is the administrative office which oversees funding and allocate resources for prenatal and infant/toddler services. The Coalition is a non-for-profit agency with the primary responsibilities to conduct strategic planning, data assessments, secure programs, selecting providers, monitoring and evaluating contacted services covering 1,200 births a year. The programs offered include Healthy Start Care Coordination, Parents as Teachers, Healthy Families of IRC, Belly Beautiful, Mom Care and TLC Newborn. For more information, visit or call (772) 563-9118.

Comments are closed.