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For Release:  September 20, 2011 – Pamela Williams, Office of Communications – 405-271-5601

Local Groups to Host Educational, Healthy Baby Showers

Free educational baby showers designed to help reduce Oklahoma’s infant mortality rates.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH), Office of Minority Health (OMH) and community partners are hosting a series of educational baby showers across the state at no cost to expectant moms. Medical experts and health information resource vendors will provide educational opportunities to answer health questions and give information to help at-risk mothers and their babies stay healthy during and after pregnancy.

The community baby showers are part of a larger statewide initiative called “Preparing for A Lifetime – It’s Everyone’s Responsibility,” designed to reduce Oklahoma’s infant mortality rate (IMR). In 2007, Oklahoma ranked 46th in the United States with an infant mortality rate of 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to the national average of 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. In Oklahoma, the African American (18.7) and American Indian (9.6) infant mortality rates are higher than the state average. The infant mortality rate for Hispanics was 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births.

Local nonprofit associations, women’s groups, and faith-based and child service organizations are encouraged to organize in their communities and unite with others to provide a “Healthy Baby Begins with You” community baby shower. The OSDH OMH will provide technical assistance and support to the community organizers. A short program with games and speakers will help dispel myths by providing accurate information on how to have a healthy baby. The non-traditional settings optimize comfort levels for participants to promote dialogue with doctors and nurses in a nonclinical setting. Topics covered include risks for low birth weight babies, the importance of prenatal and well baby care and taking care of oneself during and after pregnancy. The program is modeled after an evidence-based community initiative promoted by the National Office of Minority Health and Department of Health and Human Services.

“It is our hope that through this non-traditional way of providing educational health materials to at-risk women, we will begin to reduce the IMRs. As women use the information learned and share it with their friends and family, more individuals will be enlightened, educated and informed on ways to reduce infant mortality rates,” said OMH Director Linda Thomas.

The following Healthy Baby Shower can accommodate the first 200 people who reserve a seat and is scheduled for:

  • September 27, 2011, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm, Great Plains Technology Center, Worley  Center, 4500 W. Lee Blvd., Lawton. Contact Denise Smith at 580-354-5294 for additional information. 

The OSDH OMH and Indian Health Service, Lawton Service Unit is working with several tribes and community organizations to host this event, including the following: Kiowa Tribe Injury Prevention, Wichita Tribe Injury Prevention, Association of American Indian Physicians/Family Preservation Program, Oklahoma City Area Inter-Tribal Health Board, Delaware Nation CHR Program, Caddo Nation-CHR/EMS, Comanche Memorial Hospital Tobacco Prevention Program, Comanche Nation Injury Prevention and Domestic Violence Program, Comanche County Health Department, , Lawton Service Unit: Diabetes, Dental, Women’s Health, Public Health Nursing, and Health Education Services, March of Dimes, Mary Kay, Oklahoma Health Care Authority/Sooner Care Enrollment/Medicaid, OUHSC College of Nursing WCD WIC Program, Langston University Cooperative Extension, OKC Campus, Healing Touch, Emerson Alternative School, Community Health Centers, Inc./ Healthy Start, Friends of the Library, and other Oklahoma State Department of Health services: Maternal and Child Health, Injury Prevention, WIC, Immunizations, and HIV/STD Service.  

For general information about improving the health of pregnant women and infants in Oklahoma, contact OSDH Maternal and Child Health at 405-271-4480, call the county health department in your area, or view the “Preparing for a Lifetime, It’s Everyone’s Responsibility” website at http://iio.health.ok.gov

For information about a scheduled community baby shower and how you can organize one in your neighborhood, contact OSDH OMH Director Linda Thomas as (405) 271-1337 and view the OMH “A Healthy Baby Begins with You” baby shower toolkit at http://go.usa.gov/DCK.

 

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