Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Education


Community & Global Public Health; College of Health Sciences

First Advisor

Terri Clark


Background: According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) (2016), infant mortality is defined as “the death of a baby before his or her first birthday”. The statistics provided by the CDC (2016) state that 23,440 infants died in the US in 2013. Racial and ethnic minorities experience higher rates of infant mortality than White people. In Norristown, PA, between 2008 and 2012, the rate of infant death for African Americans was 25 percent, versus 15 percent for their Caucasian counterparts.

Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to examine the reasons for high infant mortality, with the goal of developing a (hypothetical) intervention to reduce infant mortality in Norristown, PA. Issues such as what barriers occur for minority women are examined (such as inequalities in education, lack of trust of the medical community, health behaviors), as are major causes of infant death, such as preterm birth and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. In addition, best practices in the United States are discussed as well as the services that are available to women in Norristown.

Methods: A questionnaire was developed to be administered (hypothetically) to minority women of child-bearing age living in Norristown, PA. Examples of questions are regarding awareness of what services are available, attitudes towards these services, whether or not they have been sought out, and elaboration on any experiences of these services. In addition, a focus group of stakeholders will be organized. This group would include health care professionals from local organizations, like Women, Infants, & Children, health clinics, and the Montgomery County Department of Health. The goal of the focus group would be two-fold; to get suggestions on how best to get the community to participate in the survey and also to pre-test the questionnaire.

Conclusion: There are many barriers for minority women, when it comes to accessing health care:
poverty, environmental threats, inadequate access to health care, behavioral factors of individuals and inequalities in education. It is crucial to consider all of these barriers when looking at interventions and would be important to talk with the community members directly about how best to improve rates of infant mortality.

Included in

Public Health Commons