In an effort to decrease disparities in birth outcomes between black and white infants in New Jersey and to reduce black infant mortality, the state Department of Health has just announced $4.3 million in grant aid. “The disparities in New Jersey around infant mortality are shamefully high,” Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal said. The money will go to the Healthy Women, Healthy Families initiative, specifically to fund programs in areas of high need. There will be funding for up to 12 grantees expected to target places such as Atlantic City, Camden, Trenton, East Orange, Irvington, Jersey City, Newark, and Paterson.
The overall infant mortality rate in New Jersey is, in fact, lower than the national rate (4.7 per 1,000 live births versus 5.9 per 1,000 live births in 2015). However, the disparity between black and white infants for infant mortality is startling: 3.00 per 1,000 births for white infants, 9.7 for black infants.