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Infant Mortality Awareness

Prevention

What is the Alaska Division of Public Health doing to prevent infant deaths?

  • The Section of Women’s, Children’s and Family Health (WCFH) is launching a statewide infant safe sleep initiative to reduce infant death. The Alaska Infant Safe Sleep Task Force will convene in fall 2009 to develop and promote:
    • A clear relevant message about risk and protective factors
    • Public policies on infant safe sleep
    • Professional and public education materials
    • Integration of the message across health care and child care systems in Alaska
  • The Alaska Maternal Infant Mortality and Child Death Review (MIMR-CDR) Committee is a group of physicians, nurses, and other health professionals who meet regularly to review the circumstances of every infant and child death in the state to determine whether it could have been prevented and what needs to be done to prevent future similar deaths.  The Perinatal Advisory Committee of the Section of WCFH serves as a community action team for moving MIMR-CDR review committee findings related to infant mortality prevention into action.
  • The Alaska Surveillance of Child Abuse and Neglect (Alaska SCAN) program works with the Children’s Justice Act Task Force and the Office of Children’s Services to identify risk factors and markers for child abuse and to develop and evaluate programs to prevent child maltreatment.
  • The Office of the State Medical Examiner, which investigates and autopsies many unexpected or traumatic deaths, is currently expanding.  With a larger staff, more SUID deaths can be autopsied and more comprehensive and standard investigations can be conducted for infant and child deaths throughout the state. 
  • The Section of WCFH continues to support the collection of data from the Alaska Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS).  PRAMS is a population-based survey of mothers of newborns that asks questions about experiences surrounding the pregnancy period.  These data provide information useful to infant mortality reduction efforts in the state.
  • The Section of Injury Prevention and Emergency Medical Services houses a variety of programs aimed at preventing fatal and non-fatal injuries, including the child passenger safety program and Alaska Safe Kids.
  • Programs within the Section of WCFH support newborn metabolic screening, increasing birth defects and folic acid awareness, research into specific potential contributors to infant mortality such as CPT1A, and integrating preconception health messages into existing public health programs.