Infant Mortality Summit Addressed Indiana’s Abysmal Record

November 4, 2013
Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess said an Infant Mortality Summit helps to focus efforts on reducing unnecessary infant deaths around the state. Photo courtesy ISDH.

Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess said an Infant Mortality Summit helps to focus efforts on reducing unnecessary infant deaths around the state. Photo courtesy ISDH.

Indiana has one of the worst infant mortality rates in the nation, according to the latest statistics.

Indiana ranks 45th out of 50 states – with more than seven deaths per every 1,000 babies born.

“We’ve only been below seven once in 113 years,” State Health Commissioner Dr. William VanNess explained. “And it was 6.95 in 2008, that we were barely below seven. So, unfortunately, Indiana has a long history of not being great at infant mortality,” he said.

VanNess said the state is making up to a million dollars in competitive grants available to organizations across Indiana that come up with plans to decrease the unnecessary number of infant deaths in the state.

He added the state must do a better job of educating pregnant women about getting prenatal care and the dangers of smoking.

“Smoking in Indiana is a huge cause of low birth weight or prematurity,” he added. “And 16.6 percent of our moms who are pregnant in Indiana smoke while pregnant.”

An infant mortality summit was held last week, which featured Gov. Mike Pence has a speaker.

The health commissioner said the state had cast a wide net to get organizations from around the Indiana involved in Friday’s infant mortality summit.

“The local health departments, the community health centers, the minority health coalitions, physicians, and of course, the hospitals,” he said, “anybody that thinks they have a part or should have a part in infant mortality, we’ve invited.”

Gov. Mike Pence was a featured speaker at the summit.


Listen Live

Upcoming Events

12:00 am 2015 Batesville Youth Baseball/S...
2015 Batesville Youth Baseball/S...
Dec 31 @ 12:00 am – Mar 14 @ 12:00 am
Registration is open online 24/7 go to and click on the “Register Now” link. Early registration Discount $5.00 per registration if completed IN JANUARY The spring/summer season will run from April 25th through July 2nd. All games will be through the week excluding April 25th to avoid conflict with spring soccer You can also register in person at the Batesville firehouse. Registration days: January 31, 2015- 9:00 to noon February 21, 2015- 9:00 to noon March 7, 2015- 9:00 to noon  
9:00 am YMCA January Incentive @ Southeastern Indiana YMCA
YMCA January Incentive @ Southeastern Indiana YMCA
Jan 1 @ 9:00 am – Jan 31 @ 5:00 pm
YMCA is where you belong! Community incentive to make being healthy a habit The whole month of January bring in 10 food pantry items and the $75 joiners fee will be dropped  
1:51 pm Patriotic Art Contest
Patriotic Art Contest
Jan 1 @ 1:51 pm – Mar 31 @ 11:59 pm
The Ladies Auxiliary of VFW Post 3183 is sponsoring an art contest for students in grades 9-12. The contest is a great way to earn money for college. The art must be on paper or canvas and have a patriotic theme. Digital Art is not accepted. The art must be original. Judging is based on originality, presentation, and patriotism expressed. There are monetary awards given locally and at the state level. The national winners will receive scholarships. Home schooled students are eligible, foreign exchange are not. Your entry must be signed by a teacher. You can obtain an entry form by calling Kay Pulskamp, chairperson at 934-3442. Please submit your art by March 31, 2015. The first place winner will be sent to the State Scholarships Chairman for judging. Your art will be returned to you after judging is complete. Additional info/rules may be reviewed at

View Calendar