The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), Office of Public Health (OPH), Bureau of Family Health (BFH) is the singular qualified department within OPH concentrating on injury prevention strategies. Charged with mortality data surveillance, developing and evaluating programs, and translating data to action, BFH addresses some of the most pressing health issues facing women, children, youth, and their families. Louisiana consistently ranks among the top five states in the United States with the highest Infant Mortality Rate (IMR). Each year, about 94 infant deaths in Louisiana are classified as SUID. In 2021, the IMR was 5.6 for the United States, compared to 7.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in LA.1, 2 During this same time, the SUID rate was 1.69 deaths per 1,000 live births – nearly double the national rate.2 High infant mortality and SUID rates disproportionately affect families of color. In Louisiana from 2018 to 2020, Black infants were 2.2 times more likely to die than white infants – IMR among black infants was 12.0, while IMR for white infants was only 5.5 per 1,000 live births. Similarly, the SUID rate for black infants was 1.9 times that of white infants.2
With this proposal, BFH seeks to continue to lead Louisiana’s SUID surveillance efforts, support the data needs of prevention partners, and mobilize strategic partnerships between healthcare systems, family support agencies, educational institutions, public safety agencies, and community organizations. BFH will continue to work with these entities to develop, implement, and evaluate nine supporting strategies to reduce or eliminate SUID deaths in Louisiana. In addition to SUID Case Registry Component A, BFH is also seeking Component C funding to provide support to regions disproportionately affected by SUID deaths to implement evidence-based safe sleep strategies tailored to meet community needs.
BFH witnesses and recognizes the significant impact of SUIDs in Louisiana. This proposal demonstrates BFH’s capacity to manage the proposed activities, including continuous improvement of SUID surveillance, conducting case review, and utilizing data to identify and implement evidence-based prevention strategies. The past eleven years of SUID Case Registry funding have facilitated statewide data dissemination, a deeper understanding of SUID cases at the community level, and catalysis and prioritization of collaborative prevention work. The continuation of SUID Case Registry funding is vital to the ongoing success of Louisiana’s SUID surveillance system and BFH’s continued commitment to providing timely, accurate, and actionable data to inform statewide and local prevention strategies and activities. The deliberate, collaborative approach described in the proposal shows BFH and our partners’ commitment to preventing SUIDs in Louisiana communities.