Healthy Start; Infant Mortality; Community-Focused Intervention; Program Effectiveness


Objective: Infant mortality is an important indicator of the health status of a community. In this analysis, we aimed to evaluate temporal changes in infant mortality rates (IMR) in the Central Hillsborough Healthy Start (CHHS) program service area in Tampa, Florida compared to rates in the rest of Hillsborough County and the state.

Method: We conducted a five-year (2010-2014) trends analysis using birth and infant death data extracted from the Florida Community Health Assessment Resource Tool Set (CHARTS). The number of infant deaths and live births were used to calculate and compare IMRs in the CHHS catchment area to those in the rest of Hillsborough County, and the state of Florida. Three-year centered moving averages were directly adjusted to account for differences in the racial/ethnic distribution of mothers across geographic areas.

Results: Between 2010 and 2014, the IMR decreased 42.8% in the CHHS service area (from 14.5 to 8.3 per 1,000 live births) compared to decreases of 10.1% and 7.7% in the rest of Hillsborough County and the state of Florida, respectively. Additionally, the infant mortality gap in the CHHS catchment area narrowed from 72% in 2010 to 14% in 2014 compared to the rest of the state, and was eliminated when compared to the rest of Hillsborough County.

Discussion: The absolute and relative decreases in IMR in the CHHS catchment area reflect the program’s effectiveness in decreasing disparity in infant mortality. The quality services provided by the CHHS program have had a significant positive impact on the families served.