State Senator Gayle Manning (R-North Ridgeville) today announced that state leaders have joined health advocates to start the latest phase in Ohio's fight to reduce its high infant mortality rate. The Ohio Commission on Infant Mortality met today to hear testimony and establish a timeline for developing recommendations to improve the state's efforts to prevent infant deaths. 

"This new Commission is comprised of the foremost experts on infant mortality, public health and policy," said Manning. "With a coordinated statewide effort, we can ensure that appropriate resources are provided to communities most at-risk and drive down the high rate of infant mortality in Ohio."

Senator Manning co-sponsored Senate Bill 276 last year, which established the Commission and directs the group to prepare a written report of its findings and recommendations for the Governor and General Assembly. 

The Commission is made up of various representatives from state agencies, Ohio hospitals, community-based programs and state legislators. Legislative members of the Commission include Senator Shannon Jones (R-Springboro) and Representative Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard). 

The Commission will meet regularly to take inventory of state programs and funding streams available to address the crisis of infant deaths in Ohio, which ranks 46th in the nation for overall infant mortality and 50th among black babies. 

Director McCarthy from the Ohio Department of Medicaid and Director Dawson from the Ohio Commission on Minority Health each delivered presentations at today's meeting, summarized the agencies' ongoing efforts, funding needs and goals related to infant mortality. 

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