New infant mortality study by UWPRC director

According to a new Pediatrics study by UWPRC director Dr. Deborah Ehrenthal and her colleagues Hsiang-Hui Daphne Kuo and Russell S. Kirby, higher infant mortality rates in rural US counties are best explained by their greater socioeconomic disadvantage than more-limited access to health care or the greater prevalence of mothers’ individual health risks like tobacco use. In her commentary about this study, Keeping Rural Infants Alive: Combatting Structural InequitiesKaty Backes Kozhimannil writes:

The findings from this analysis imply that a new clinical and policy approach is needed to close the rural–urban gap in infant mortality. What is needed is structural investment to counter the forces of urbanism by creating rural-relevant policies. First, infant deaths need to be counted and carefully reviewed; second, infant health should be addressed in the context of pregnancy and the health of pregnant people through a focus on maternity care access and quality; finally, investment in evidence-based programs like nurse home visiting and community- based infrastructure, from schools to broadband to food access to recreation to social support, could help.