Faculty Sponsor: Dr. Naila Mamoon
Despite a multitude of research and interventions that have improved the overall burden of infant mortality, the African American population continues to experience a significant disparity, with over two times the rate of infant mortality than the White population. Previous research has investigated risk factors and relationships between increased risk of infant mortality and a wide variety of biological and social determinants such as mother’s age, other conditions, socioeconomic status, maternal health outcome, involvement of the father, and prenatal care. Within the existing research, there is a knowledge gap around the perceptions and awareness of infant mortality risks within the Black community and the relationship to health and healthcare-related behaviors in this population. This research study explores the perceptions of infant mortality among Black women living in Mecklenburg County from the perspective of the healthcare providers serving the maternal and healthcare needs of this population. Our research further examines how these perceptions may affect maternal health behaviors during pregnancy. Interviews were conducted with healthcare providers and organizations providing services to pregnant women in Mecklenburg. Participants responded to questions during qualitative interviews about issues related to community awareness of infant mortality, both in terms of knowledge about what infant mortality is, as well as how infant mortality affects the Black community. They also responded to questions about level of concern about infant mortality, risk factors for infant mortality, and barriers identified in receiving the appropriate care and support needed, including prenatal healthcare. Important themes found within participant responses included: patient behavioral and lifestyle factors, sources of health information, education, access to healthcare, relationship with partner, and race as factors contributing to the perception of infant mortality.