Group seeking $5 million in competitive funding through State “Safety PIN” infant mortality reduction pool to reach 20,000 area women over four years.

SOUTH BEND, INDIANA – The Michiana Regional Perinatal Consortium (MRPC), comprised of twelve organizations from St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, and Marshall Counties, submitted a grant to Indiana State Department of Health’s new Safety PIN funding pool for $1 million with a full, innovative plan to reduce the area infant mortality rate (supplement A, C). The four counties combined infant mortality rate hovers at 7.4 deaths per 1,000 births. This figure indicates that the northern region of Indiana has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the nation which is already the highest among all wealthy nations in the world (national rate = 6.1). Risk factors of poverty and race put a full one-fourth of pregnant women in the four-county area at even higher risk — among blacks, infants are 3.5 times more likely to die than white infants (supplement B).

In the MRPC’s plan, pregnant women could access new services by contacting United Way’s 2-1-1 free community information hotline or through participating community organizations and healthcare providers. MHIN (our region’s Health Information Exchange, a healthcare data repository) will securely funnel information into a new cloud-based, HIPAA-compliant case management system. Program staff will analyze referrals and assign highest risk referrals to a program Care Coordinator.

Women who are not high risk will be provided referrals to active, high-quality community social service agencies who host programming and services for high risk pregnant women including: WIC, Vitamin Angels, Healthy Families, Talk With Your Baby, Early Start, Baby & Me – Tobacco Free, Text 4 Baby, and Cribs for Kids (supplement D).

The Care Coordinator will develop strengths-based relationships with at-risk pregnant women through both electronic/mobile/telephone and in-home communication means – meeting with her face-to-face one time per month during pregnancy until the child’s first birthday. The interactions will focus on safe sleep practices, nutrition, breastfeeding, stress reduction, immunizations, drug and alcohol cessation, positive parenting, and family planning.

Care Coordinators will have access to MHIN’s “Community View” Electronic Health Record digital portal which gives a complete picture of the medical state of each mother. Access to this information is vital to ensuring the Care Coordinators are one step ahead to prevent missteps and noncompliance in prescribed prenatal and postpartum care – a potential issue resulting in prenatal morbidity or even mortality.

If the innovative plan is funded through Safety PIN, approximately 20 new jobs for RNs and Social Workers will be created to reach a potential 20,000 women over four years in the four-county region.



Waldo Mikels-Carrasco, Director of Population Health Research and Development – MHIN
  • “Our group has collectively worked on a solution to reduce infant mortality since 2010. It’s time to put our work into action by seeing this plan improve the lives of thousands of families and children.”
  • “We’ve collected the data and know the root causes of Infant Mortality in our area. It is within our reach to save lives.”
  • “A rigorous effort will be made to reach out to all agencies serving at-risk women and children in our four-county area.”


Dr. Dan Nafziger, Health Officer of Elkhart County
  • “Too long have we accepted a high infant mortality rate as a community.”




As an Indiana based not-for-profit Health Information Exchange (HIE) MHIN turns data into insights to improve health for our families, neighbors, and friends by connecting our healthcare community. MHIN is one of the oldest and most successful health information exchanges and healthcare information technology organizations in the United States. Since 1998, MHIN has been committed to providing secure, timely delivery of relevant clinical information through a number of technology and communication solutions that work to streamline secure access to data to improve quality and reduce costs.

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A: What is Indiana State Department of Health’s “Safety PIN” funding?

Safety PIN stands for “Protecting Indiana’s Newborns.” The legislation, enacted in 2015 under House Bill 1004, provides a total of $11 million to grantees who aim to use innovative solutions to reduce infant mortality over a four-year period.


B: Risk Factors for Infant Mortality

• Tobacco, alcohol, or drug use
• BMI of less than 19.8 or greater than 30
• History of low birth weight or premature infant births
• History of gestational diabetes or preeclampsia
• Unstable housing
• Domestic violence
• Non-compliance with medical care
• Mental health problems and high stress
• Lack of positive social support
• Child abuse and neglect

Additional information on Infant Mortality from the CDC:

C: Michiana Regional Perinatal Consortium (MRPC) Members

Project Lead and Data Analytics Coordination

  • MHIN (Michiana Health Information Network)

Marketing and Community Outreach

  • Community Wellness Partners
  • Minority Health Coalition Elkhart County Inc.
  • LaPorte County Minority Health Coalition

Care Coordination Partners

  • LaPorte, St. Joseph, and Elkhart County Health Departments
  • Beacon Health System (Memorial Hospital and Elkhart General Hospital)
  • Saint Joseph Health System (Hospitals and clinics in St. Joseph and Marshall counties)
  • IU Health Goshen
  • IU Health LaPorte
  • St. Anthony Franciscan Health
  • OB Providers in Elkhart, LaPorte, and St. Joseph counties


D: Active Regional Programs Reducing Infant Mortality