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Ohio Equity Institute
Family and baby

About the Ohio Equity Institute

In 2018, black infants in Ohio died at nearly three times the rate of white infants. Infant mortality is defined as the death of a baby before his or her first birthday. Infant deaths are an important indicator of the overall health of a community. Ohio ranks near the bottom in black infant deaths and overall infant mortality nationwide. This is unacceptable.

The Ohio Equity Institute (OEI) is a collaboration between the Ohio Department of Health and local partners. Created in 2012 to address racial disparities in birth outcomes, population data is used to target areas for outreach and services in the nine counties with the largest disparities. Partnering communities coordinated infant vitality efforts including tobacco cessation, group- facilitated prenatal care, safe sleep, birth spacing, family planning, progesterone, breastfeeding support, fatherhood, health education and community engagement activities throughout their counties.

OEI 2.0 launched on October 1, 2018. This targeted structure was developed to ensure that the program addresses the biggest drivers of infant mortality and the population most at risk for poor birth outcomes. Through a competitive grant solicitation, local entities were charged with implementing the following program components:

  • Upstream: Facilitate the development, adoption, or improvement of policies and/or practices which impact the social determinants of health related to preterm birth and low birth weight in county.

  • Downstream: Local community health workers, known as Neighborhood Navigators, identify and connect a portion of each county’s *priority prenatal population to clinical and social services.


 Neighborhood Navigator *priority prenatal population for services:

  • Pregnant

  • Household income does not exceed 200% FPL

  • Possess at least one of the following risk factors:

    • Previous preterm birth

    • Previous low-birth weight delivery

    • Under age 25

    • User of tobacco products in home

    • History or unstable housing or homelessness

    • Current diagnosed medical condition

    • History of child abuse or neglect

    • Have demonstrated a need for substance abuse treatment

    • History of depression or other diagnosed mental health concerns.


Foundational Documents



Funded Entities

Map of Ohio highlighting counties that have an OEI 2.0 funded agency

  • Butler: Butler County Health Department

  • Cuyahoga: Cuyahoga County Health Department

  • Franklin: CelebrateOne

  • Hamilton: Hamilton County Health Department

  • Lucas: Lucas County Regional Health District

  • Mahoning: Mahoning County District Board of Health

  • Montgomery: Public Health- Dayton & Montgomery County

  • Stark: Canton City Health Department

  • Summit: Summit County General Health District