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SISTERS UNITED: A community based initiative to reduce infant mortality in the African American community Arkansas Department of Health Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities Family Health Branch
MISSION • to provide leadership in improving health outcomes by advocating for health equity for at-risk populations as defined by race or ethnicity, age, education, disability, gender, geographical location, income, and sexual orientation.
OBJECTIVES • Describe the burden of infant mortality in Arkansas’ African American communities. • Describe a state health agency role in reducing infant mortality. • Describe key components of an initiative aimed at reducing infant mortality.
MINORITIES IN ARKANSAS • Consist of 670,689 (23%) of the population: • African-American (15.4%) • Latino (6.4%) • Asian (1.2%) • American Indian/Alaskan Native (0.8%) • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (0.2%)* • Multiple Races (2.0%) • Other (3.4%) Source: www.2010.census.gov
Age-Adjusted Mortality Rates by Cause, Race and EthnicityArkansas 2008-2012 – Based on Level of Disparity
Source: Linked Birth/Infant Death Files, Health Statistics Branch, Arkansas Department of Health
ARKANSAS RISK FACTORS Infants: • birth weights less than 3.3 pounds • born at gestational ages less than 32 weeks • birth defects • mothers had no prenatal care • mothers who smoked ≥ pack of cigarettes per day • mothers had at least one medical complication • African American
ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM • Our office was asked by the Branch Chief of the Family Health Branch to assist with addressing these disparities. • We suggested mobilizing graduate sorority chapters. • Met with key partners to determine the major focus areas of this new project.
POTENTIAL FOCUS AREAS • Low birth weight • Birth defects • Immunization rates • SIDS • Breastfeeding • Tobacco use
Low Birth Weight • Prematurity is the leading cause of African American death in the 1st year of life • African Americans have 3X s the rate of 28 week babies as other races • Preterm deliveries account for the vast majority of racial disparity
Birth Defects • 2nd leading cause of death in the 1st year of life • About 1 in every 33 babies is born with a birth defect. • Most occur in the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Flu Immunization During Pregnancy • Flu Shot can: • decrease the chance of mother and baby dying from the flu by 50% • decrease the chance of mother and baby getting the flu and premature delivery by 70% • Pregnant women that received a flu shot Latino------------69% White----------------66% African Americans ----40%
SIDS • Always putting a baby to sleep on their back decreases SIDS by 50% • Only1 out of 3 Black Moms always put their babies to sleep on their backs • 2 out of 3 White Moms always put their babies to sleep on their backs
Tobacco Use • Smoking • African American Moms have low smoking rates • AR pregnant smoking average--------------------24% • AA AR Moms--------------12%
History of Fraternities and Sororities • AA fraternities and sororities have roots in Masonry. • Inclusion was not welcoming to African Americans so a “black version” was created in the late 1700s. • The first white fraternity was established in 1776. • The first white was formed in 1867.
History of AA Sororities 1913 1908 1922 1920
Notable Members ΔΣΘ Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Founded in 1913 at Howard University Dr. Joycelyn Elders Former US Surgeon General AΦА Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Founded in 1906 at Cornell University Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr Civil Rights Activist AKА Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Founded in 1908 at Howard University PhyliciaRashad Actor ΦBΣ Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Founded in 1914 at Howard University Rep. John Lewis US Congressman ZΦB Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Founded in 1920 at Howard University Zora Neal Hurston Author KАΨ Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Founded in 1911 at Indiana University Johnnie Cochran Attorney ΩΨΦ Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Founded in 1911 at Howard University Ronald McNair Challenger Astronaut ΣΓΡ Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority Founded in 1922 at Butler University Victoria Rowell Actor
Honorary Members Former US President Bill Clinton Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
Arkansas African American Sorority Graduate Chapters (2012) Data source: State Coordinators of African American Sorority Graduate Chapters
Arkansas African American Sorority Graduate Chapters Data source: State Coordinators of African American Sorority Graduate Chapters
Alpha Kappa Alpha (1908) “Service to All Mankind” • 12 chapters • Oldest Chartered Chapter: Beta Pi Omega (1937) • 699 combined members • 6 websites • 4 Facebook accounts • Over 800 combined Facebook contacts • 1 Chapter has past experience in infant mortality
Delta Sigma Theta (1913) “Intelligence is the torch of wisdom” • 15 chapters • Oldest Chartered Chapter: Pine Bluff Alumnae (1944) • 860 combined members • 6 websites • 2 Facebook accounts • 203 combined FB contacts • 1 chapter has past experience in infant mortality
Zeta Phi Beta (1920) “A community conscious, action-oriented organization” • 12 Chapters (9 responses) • Oldest Chartered Chapter: Alpha Mu Zeta (1940) • 203 combined members • 2 websites • 1 Facebook account • 128 combined FB contacts • 5 chapters have past experience in infant mortality
Sigma Gamma Rho (1922) “Greater Service, Greater Progress” • 3 Chapters • Oldest Chartered Chapter: Theta Sigma (1932) • 29 combined membership • 0 Facebook account • 0 Combined FB contacts • 0 websites • 1Chapter has past experience in infant mortality
SISTERS UNITEDPOTENTIAL IMPACT • 42 Chapters • 1,762 combined members • 7 Chapters have past experience in Infant Mortality • 23 counties • 315,986 AA’s in counties • Over 1,100 combined FB contacts • 14 websites / 7 Facebook accounts
SISTERS UNITED • Invited presidents of African American Sorority graduate chapters to attend leadership meeting. • Asked for their help by joining SISTERS UNITED. • 31 out of 42 chapters joined and committed to send representatives to attend an 8 hour training.
SISTERS UNITED GOAL • To increase awareness among African Americans about infant mortality and share prevention methods to disseminate throughout the community.
EVALUATION • 2 - flu shot • 1- folic acid • 1- breastfeeding • 2 - safe sleep
TRAINING • 58 sorority members from the 31 chapters attended a train-the-trainer conference • The attendees received name badges with the title SISTERS UNITED TRAINER • Session included mock interviews to learn how to deliver effective media messages. • Participants received a binder with handouts, flash drive, evaluation forms, talking points when scheduling media interviews and youtube videos.
MINI-GRANTS NICHD released RFA to conduct community outreach and education aimed at reducing the risk of SIDS within the African-American community. Our office encouraged each SU chapter to apply for these funds. A total of 29 organizations awarded grants and 21 of those were SISTERS UNITED chapters.
PORTRAIT UNVEILING “The artwork entitled, Sisters United, is a representation of African-American Greek sororities united on a campaign to address the community on information to help reduce the infant mortality rate in the state of Arkansas. The globe in the artwork represents the future of our world as these sororities come together to ensure the safety and future potential that our children have in making this world a better place. By reducing the infant mortality rate, our children will thrive to become educated individuals destined to change this world.”
2013 Community Survey Total = 970
2013 Community Survey Results * Statistically Significant; Two Sample z-test