239127 Neighborhood Level Disadvantage, Race/Ethnicity and Infant Mortality in Washington DC

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 8:50 AM

Ndidi Amutah, PhD, MPH, CHES , School of Community Health and Policy, W.K. Kellogg Foundation Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
Background: This study examined the effects of neighborhood level disadvantage and individual level characteristics such as race/ethnicity on infant mortality. Social determinants of health theory and ecological theory were used to construct a neighborhood disadvantage index for Washington DC. Methods: Secondary analyses were conducted using linked birth/death certificate and census data from the DC State Center for Health Statistics. Live births (55,938) and infant deaths (607) occurring in Washington DC from 2001-2007 were examined. Multilevel modeling techniques were utilized to determine the relationship between individual and neighborhood level factors on infant mortality. Results: Whites had the lowest rates of infant mortality (2.8/1000), followed by Hispanics (7.4/1000), with Blacks having the highest rates (15.2/1000) after adjusting for age, education, and marital status. These findings are consistent with previous research affirming a relationship between race/ethnicity and infant mortality. Infants born in disadvantaged neighborhoods are 1.63 times more likely to die before their first birthday than those born in advantaged neighborhoods. The odds for infant mortality compared to Whites decreases especially for Blacks (5.39 to 3.10; 42% change), living in disadvantaged communities even when race/ethnicity was interacted with the neighborhood disadvantage index. Conclusions: This suggests that disadvantage has different consequences for different race/ethnicity populations living in those neighborhoods. The importance of place (disadvantaged or advantaged neighborhood) in relation to infant mortality at the neighborhood level in addition to improving individual level factors is discussed for program development and policymakers.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Provision of health care to the public
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss infant mortality and neighborhood level disadvantage in Washington DC Identify policy and programmatic changes to reduce the disparities experienced at the ward level for infant mortality. Describe the importance of including the social determinants of health in the infant mortality debate.

Keywords: Health Disparities, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have received my PhD in MCH and I am presenting on my dissertation research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.