Each year, 260 babies die before their first birthday in St. Louis.
"We lose what would be the equivalent of 15 classrooms of kindergartens every year in St. Louis from infant mortality," said Kendra Copanas, executive director for Generate Health, which works to improve birth outcomes and community health in the St. Louis area via education and advocacy. "It's particularly remarkable when you consider that St. Louis is also home to world class medical care and groundbreaking health research."
Generate Health has evolved over 20 years as a long-standing maternal and infant health consortium, and in 2015, they formed the FLOURISH St. Louis initiative—a focused strategy that allowed its broad coalition of community organizations, from health systems to nonprofits—to come together to tackle the complex problem of infant mortality. In 2017, FLOURISH partners spent months laying the groundwork for a collaborative, full-scale effort to address transportation issues that hinder access to medical care, healthy foods, employment, and social services for low-income mothers, particularly for women of color—all of which can lead to greater infant mortality.
Then, just as they were ready to launch, the aftermath of a local tragedy forced them to shift perspective.
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