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When B’more for Healthy Babies began in 2009, Baltimore City had one of the worst rates of infant mortality in the country (13.5 percent). Black babies were five times more likely to die than white babies, reflecting deep health disparities. After years of service improvements as well as public health campaigns designed by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the rate has dropped to an historic low of 8.4 (2015) and the disparity between deaths of white and black babies has narrowed by more than 50 percent.
Working with the Baltimore City Health Department, CCP is the lead communication partner for the B’more for Healthy Babies initiative to improve birth outcomes in Baltimore. CCP supports the initiative with strategy, branding, campaigns, evaluation, social media and outreach to communities and health providers.
CCP also develops communication materials for B’more for Healthy Babies’ coalitions on teen pregnancy prevention, intervention for substance use and mental health, breastfeeding, early literacy development/school readiness and other health topics. CCP’s scope continues to expand as the initiative implements a life course approach.
Central to the project has been a focus on citywide campaigns promoting safe sleep for infants. CCP implements a citywide campaign nearly every year. In addition to safe sleep, other topics have included a media campaign to limit cigarette smoke around infants and pregnant woman and a digital campaign to promote breastfeeding among black mothers.
In 2009, sleep-related deaths were the second-leading cause of death among infants in the city and highly preventable. Since the program began:
CCP created and conducted a social media campaign to increase commitment to breastfeeding among African American women, including videos of mothers who have successfully overcome some of the common challenges associated with breastfeeding.
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield; federal and state agencies and many foundations
Baltimore City Health Department; Family League of Baltimore; HealthCare Access Maryland
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