WeCare Indiana: The Infant Mortality Reduction Project
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Health and Wellness

WeCare Indiana: The Infant Mortality Reduction Project

Not to get too technical, but everyone needs to know about Indiana's latest efforts to improve the health of our babies and their families.

WeCare Indiana: The Infant Mortality Reduction Project
Regenstrief Institute

Indiana ranks 39th in the United States in regards to infant mortality. Infant mortality is the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. And Indiana is way down the list at 39th, with a rate of 7.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. Many people may have heard of infant mortality before, but never understood what it really means, or what it contributes to the overall health of a population. As for me, I didn't pay nearly any attention to infant mortality rates until I started my summer internship. At Regenstrief Institute, I was added onto a project called WeCare Indiana. As part of a team alongside Dr. Deb Litzelman and Kathleen Schmitt-Wendholt, I was wrapped up in their project that was quickly moving along in its efforts to reduce the infant mortality rates in Marion (Indianapolis) and Delaware (Muncie) Counties.

WeCare Indiana partners with community organizations as a quality improvement project, to really get to know and understand what the problems are in the local communities that are keeping women and families from getting the right resources they need. These resources fall under categories such as food, clothing, health care, assistance programs, mental health, breastfeeding, safe sleep and more. This project is targeted towards women of childbearing age (ages 13 and up), pregnant and postpartum women. WeCare is on its way to expansion, but for now is proving very successful in two counties with some of the worst infant mortality rates. WeCare Indiana is currently partnered with Raphael Health Clinic in Indianapolis, and Open Door Health Services in Muncie. We have two health coaches, one at each clinic. Our health coaches are really key when it comes to getting women exactly what they need, when they need it. Health coaches are meant to be friends as well as coaches, a support system, and encouragement to participating women.

WeCare Indiana has so many great assets as a project that are crucial in helping these women best care for themselves as well as their families. In fact, there are too many to describe within this article. I wanted to focus on my main role in this project: to come up with something that would make the endless amount of resources in these counties easily accessible for the coaches as well as the women. First, I created 2 layered Google Maps that contain information about surrounding resources; one for Marion Co. and one for Delaware Co. Here you can find information regarding hours, contact information, a general description, visitation frequencies, and more. Each resource is categorized under a layer, which the user can customize which layer(s) to display at a time. And of course, you can find directions to all resources through Google Maps.

You can find these maps here:

Marion County

Delaware County

To build on these maps, I created an app that takes the information about these resources and provides even more tools and features for them. WeCare Indiana is currently available for free download in the Apple store, as well as it is in the process of being available on Google Play for Androids. In WeCare Indiana, you will find the Google Maps I built, along with Google Calendars posted with all the times and dates of the resources, a contact book, a categorized "menu" of Marion and Delaware resources, as well as information about Rainbow Books and social media connections. Open Door Health Services has an updated Twitter and Facebook page that can be easily found on WeCare Indiana.

The importance of sharing these resources is so high; the more people who know about them and can use them to their best advantage, the better healthcare in our state. Although I only played a small part on the WeCare Indiana project, I am elated to share these resources. To learn more about WeCare Indiana, contact one of the local health clinics.

Special thanks to Regenstrief Institute, Dr. Deb Litzelman, and Kathleen Schmitt-Wendholt.

Refer to United Health Foundation America's Health Rankings 2014 Indiana, 2014. and the WeCare Indiana Project at Regenstrief Institute.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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