Department of Higher Education Awards Research Incentive Funding for Infant Mortality Research

COLUMBUS, Ohio (2020-01-29) — 

Three public universities and one independent university in Ohio will receive Research Incentive funding from the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE) to conduct research regarding infant mortality issues in Ohio.

Campuses receiving funding are Cleveland State University, The Ohio State University, Bowling Green State University, and Mount St. Joseph University.

The funding was allocated as part of a provision in House Bill 166, which gives ODHE the authority to use the funds to advance collaborative research in specified research areas. Awardees are chosen through a third-party, independent review process that is undertaken to objectively evaluate proposals through an RFP process. ODHE may award up to $1 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 to support research of infant mortality issues.

“One of my first actions as governor was to highlight the importance of home visitation programs to improve infant mortality rates in Ohio,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “This research will help further that effort.”

“Issues that directly impact Ohio’s families are of great importance to the DeWine-Husted Administration,” ODHE Chancellor Randy Gardner said. “Having this Research Incentive funding available will allow these universities to complete research projects with the ultimate goal of reducing infant mortality rates across the state.”

Funding awarded and project details are as follows:

  • Cleveland State University – $982,322 for implementation of “Survive and Thrive – A New Future for African American Babies.” This project consists of two primary components for addressing infant mortality – data analysis and toolkit development and implementation. CSU and its partners – the Cleveland Clinic and Birthing Beautiful Communities of Cleveland – will analyze data sets that include macro- and micro-economic factors, and neighborhood and household conditions, with the goal of identifying causal links to infant mortality. A Social Risk Assessment tool will be developed using the data, along with a toolkit linked to comprehensive services such as transportation access, housing placement, trauma therapy, and job placement. A control group of pregnant African American women will be recruited and put through the Social Risk Assessment, with comparisons made to those who have not gone through the assessment. Researchers will draw conclusions on the effectiveness of the toolkit.
  • The Ohio State University – $441,146 to build upon previous infant mortality research. Previous funding allowed the Ohio Colleges of Medicine Government Resource Center, housed at Ohio State, to create 12 infant mortality predictive models, an infant mortality risk calculate, and geospatial analytics tools used to plan targeted interventions. The latest project uses the models and tools to develop a comprehensive toolkit to be used by practitioners and other intervention specialists. It will also create a reference resources library of organizations around the state that provide services to support Ohio’s mothers and pregnant women.
  • Bowling Green State University – $266,642 to create stronger pathways to infant vitality through participant research. The funding will be used to conduct a participant-based implementation and impact assessment of the Northwest Ohio Pathways HUB in Lucas County. The HUB model is a means of identifying and addressing infant mortality risk factors at the individual level. HUB participants receive a comprehensive risk assessment and each risk factor is translated into a “care pathway,” with the thought that pathways followed to completion should improve infant mortality outcomes.
  • Mount St. Joseph University – $309,308 to create a new integrated technological solution that will deliver personalized messages to mothers whose infants are most at risk of suffering from negative birth outcomes. The project will aim to provide mobile patient education outreach platforms such as closed-network social media applications that can be used to provide new and expectant mothers with educational content and can also be used to form a support community of individuals facing similar circumstances.

Project findings will be reported by each institution and are expected by the end of fiscal year 2021. House Bill 166 also provides Research Incentive funding awards of up to $1 million and $750,000 for projects in the areas of addiction research and cybersecurity, respectively, in fiscal years 2020 and 2021.

About the Ohio Department of Higher Education

The Ohio Department of Higher Education is a Cabinet-level agency for the Governor of the State of Ohio that oversees higher education for the state. The agency’s main responsibilities include authorizing and approving new degree programs, managing state-funded financial aid programs and developing and advocating policies to maximize higher education’s contributions to the state and its citizens.

Contact Information: 

Jeff Robinson
Ohio Department of Higher Education
Office: 614.752.9487
Email: jrobinson@highered.ohio.gov

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