Crisis in the Crib Highlights an Infant Health Community Issue

Friday, February 12, 2010

I recently joined Kimberly Seals Allers, Tonya Lewis Lee, Carol Jenkins, Women's eNews, and many other African American women community advocates to celebrate the second year of the Black Maternal Health: A Legacy and A Future project.

We came together for the screening of the Crisis in the Crib: Saving Our Nation's Babies, a documentary by Tonya Lewis Lee focusing on maternal and infant health in the African American community.

In short Crisis in the Crib highlights the maternal and infant health in the African American community. The rate of death for African American babies before their first birthday is twice the rate of white babies and greatly outpaces the national average.

But Tonya Lewis Lee, an attorney and award-winning television producer, the wife of filmmaker Spike Lee, and a spokesperson for the Office of Minority Health's "A Healthy Baby Begins With You" campaign since 2007...wants to change those rates and the plight of African American babies, their families and in the long run their communities.

To spread awareness and hopefully bring change, Lee created the Preconception Peer Educator Program where college students work at the community grassroots level. The members visit high schools and colleges as well as host community health fairs. The purpose is to raise awareness, share healthy living information and get male and female peers talking way before the pregnancy and parenting stages.

As I watched a segment I noticed a female of Asian decent in one of the groups. Of course I would notice something like that! Turns out she's a nursing student wanting to learn more about infant mortality and the effects on the mothering community. I started thinking this one nursing student of Asian decent will carry back information to her community and spread awareness about this issue.

That awareness will hopefully help any mothers of Afro-American decent she comes across...and if I may run with it...any mother of a blasian she comes across.

"The infant mortality rate is a marker for the health of a nation," said Lee, a spokesperson for the Office of Minority Health's "A Healthy Baby Begins With You" campaign since 2007. "And I know that all of those babies lost to infant mortality are important resources lost to us all."

While this issue of infant mortality seems to affect the African American the worse, any issue that affects mothers and their babies is something ALL communities should worry about. We are all connected and what affects one will affect all eventually.

You can watch the 30-minute documentary online and also see video from the screening at Women's eNews.

For more information: Office of Minority Health - Crisis in the Crib

For more information on the Healthy Baby Begins with You campaign please visit the Office of Minority Health:

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