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Research Team Awarded Nearly $1 Million for Infant and Maternal Mortality Reduction Program

Ohio Third Frontier to fund phase two of “Survive and Thrive” program led by CSU’s interdisciplinary urban affairs, nursing, and social work team

Research Team Awarded Nearly $1 Million for Infant and Maternal Mortality Reduction ProgramSurvive and Thrive, a CSU interdisciplinary research initiative created to help reduce infant and maternal mortality, has been awarded a $957,387 grant from the Ohio Third Frontier program through the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).

The Survive and Thrive project team includes Dr. Roland V. Anglin, Dean and Professor at the Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs; Richey Piiparinen, Director of Urban Theory and Analytics at the Maxine Goodman Levin School of Urban Affairs; Dr. Heather Rice, Assistant Professor at CSU’s School of Nursing and Principal Investigator for the project; Dr. Joan Thoman, Dean of Research/Collaborative Partnerships and RN Associate Professor at CSU’s School of Nursing; and Dr. Cyleste Collins, Associate Professor at CSU’s School of Social Work. The team has partnered with Birthing Beautiful Communities, a local nonprofit founded in 2014 expressly to reduce Black infant and maternal deaths, to advance this effort.

The funding will allow the team to continue work into phase two with the ongoing development of a mobile app called “Thrive,” which captures clinical and social indicators for mothers, fathers, and infants, and provides support resources to promote live births and a healthy first year for new babies. The Thrive app scores and synthesizes risks by category, creating an intuitively based, individual “perinatal pathway” for parents to follow. App information includes everything from a breastfeeding tool, kick counter, developmental milestones tracker, vital signs tracker, and support ticket system that allows mothers to request assistance with transportation and support services.

Anchored by “resiliency modeling and predictive analytics,” the project team will add tools to the Thrive app to aid in chronic disease self-management and help reduce toxic stress in expectant and new mothers, which research suggests African American women experience to a disproportionate degree. The new additions will focus more on stress reduction, mindfulness, and breathing strategies. The app will also provide a range of resources, from workforce development training and job placement services, to emotional support opportunities for mothers and fathers.

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