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Ohio Equity Initiative

Family and baby

About the Ohio Equity Initiative

Ohio Equity Initiative 2.0
Working to Achieve Equity in Birth Outcomes


In 2020, Black infants in Ohio were 2.8 times more likely to die than white infants. The Ohio Equity Initiative (OEI): Working to Achieve Equity in Birth Outcomes is a grant-funded collaboration between the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) and local partners, created in 2012, to address these racial inequities in birth outcomes. Population data is used to target areas for outreach and services in the 10 counties with the largest disparities. These 10 counties accounted for 84% of Ohio’s Black infant deaths in 2020 and 62% of all infant deaths.

Through these efforts Ohio is working to amplify the vision and voices of communities most impacted by disparities in birth outcomes and infant deaths. It is important that we also support a locally-driven, holistic approach to racial inequities in birth outcomes and infant deaths led by those with the deepest knowledge about the changes needed—the affected communities themselves.


To address the biggest drivers of inequities in poor birth outcomes and infant mortality in the 10 counties with the greatest racial disparities. 


     1.    By 2025, achieve a Black infant mortality rate of 8.4 in the 10 funded counties collectively.
     2.    By 2025, achieve a Black prematurity rate of 11.1 in the 10 funded counties collectively.

Goals identified in alignment with the State Health Improvement Plan.

OEI 2.0 Program Structure

SFY22 Grant Year

Flow chart outlining program structure

Downstream Strategy

Local Neighborhood Navigators identify and connect the Black prenatal population in priority service areas to clinical and social services to reduce stress and improve access to resources needed for a new and growing family. Efforts prioritize non-traditional avenues of outreach designed and tailored to identify people where existing systems and programs do not currently reach.

Upstream Strategy

Local entities facilitate the development, adoption, or improvement of policies and/or practices that impact the social determinants of health related to preterm birth and low birth weight, which often drive inequities in birth outcomes within the OEI counties.

Organizational Racial Equity Capacity

A Health Equity Coordinator in collaboration with a Racial Equity Core Team develops an action plan to normalize, organize and operationalize organizational change to advance racial equity. Local health departments use a racial equity framework to develop organizational goals and objectives to address, reduce, and eliminate racial disparities and inequities. Entities build organizational capacity and partner with other institutions and communities to strengthen internal health equity core competencies. OEI teams seek to implement racial equity tools to change the policies, programs, and practices that perpetuate inequities within their communities and use data to develop baselines, set goals, and measure progress. 

Data Capacity

All of the above scopes of work are supported by an OEI epidemiologist. The epidemiologists serve as a local data experts for projects related to infant mortality and maternal and child health. They play a key role in the OEI grant by identifying clear and effective ways to determine accountability and success; ensuring projects are data-driven; and monitoring and evaluating progress towards achieving goals

OEI Principles

1. Prioritize or focus on racial equity.
2. Build and/or enhance internal racial equity organizational capacity.
3. Respect and follow the people most affected by poor birth outcomes and infant deaths as primary guides.
4. Build power, amplify voices, and elevate communities and residents.
5. Partner with other institutions and communities of color to adopt a shared agenda, goals, objectives, data analysis, use coordinated strategies and develop consistent metrics to measure progress.
6. Develop and implement locally designed upstream strategies and downstream interventions through community engagement and use of local data to address drivers of racial inequities impacting poor birth outcomes and infant mortality.
7. Serve as local expert for projects related to infant mortality and maternal and child health epidemiology.
8. Identify clear and effective ways to determine accountability and success.
9. Shared learning.

Foundational Documents

Current Documents:

Historical Documents: 

Funded Entities

Funded Entities by OEI County & Contact Information

Butler: Butler County General Health District
          Tracy Bishop, Project Coordinator; Phone: 513-887-3808;
          Website: Butler County General Health District - Maternal and Infant Health

Cuyahoga: Cuyahoga County Board of Health
          Angela Newman White, Project Coordinator; Phone: 216-201-2001 ext 1517; Email: anewman@ccbh.net

Franklin: Columbus Public Health in partnership with CelebrateOne community infant mortality coalition
          Ashon McKenzie, Director of Research, Policy, Strategy & Planning; Email: almckenzie@columbus.gov

Hamilton: Hamilton County Public Health
          Email: oei2.0hamilton@gmail.com; 
          Website: Hamilton County Public Health - Infant and Maternal Health and Mortality

Lorain: Lorain County Public Health
          Kat Solove, Project Coordinator; Email: ksolove@loraincountyhealth.com

Lucas: Toledo-Lucas County Health Department
          Ellen Gaietto, Program Coordinator; Phone: 419-213-4516;
          Website: Toledo-Lucas County Getting to 1 Coalition 

Mahoning: Mahoning County District Board of Health
          Cora Lewis, Program Coordinator; Email: clewis@mahoninghealth.org or info@mahoninghealth.org

Montgomery: Public Health-Dayton & Montgomery County
          OEI Team Phone Number: 937-496-7718

Stark: Canton City Public Department
          Dawn Miller, THRIVE OEI Project Director; Email: dmiller@cantonhealth.org; Phone: 330-575-4098

Summit: Summit County Public Health
          Rachel Flossie OEI Project Coordinator; Phone: 330-926-5732
          Stephanie Roy OEI Health Equity Coordinator; Phone: 330-926-5755
          Neighborhood Navigator Line; Phone: 330-926-5700