Brandi Klingerman | May 30, 2018
Indiana is in the bottom 10 states for infant mortality with a 2016 infant mortality rate (IMR) of 7.5. This means more than seven children die out of every 1,000 births. Unfortunately, St. Joseph County’s IMR was even higher, with an 8.2 IMR average from 2012 to 2016. To better understand what can be done to decrease this rate Elizabeth A. McCue, a global health research associate for the Eck Institute for Global Health, has teamed with the St. Joseph County Health Department to assess local health initiatives and see where they are most effective and how they could be improved.
Working in Uganda presented distinct challenges, including a lack of health record collection and storage systems, for McCue. She was, however, able to utilize this experience in her current role. In discussing how McCue’s community work relates to global health, Bernard Nahlen, director of the EIGH, said, “Community health is often an indicator of greater public health concerns and for researchers to address global health issues like IMR, it is imperative for solutions to be tailored to community needs. The Eck Institute has sent research associates to many countries around the world, but St. Joseph County also faces global health issues that we want to help combat.” McCue’s experience with infant health began as a candidate of the Master of Science in Global Health program at the University of Notre Dame. Her capstone project included spending seven weeks in rural health facilities in Uganda, collecting case-specific data about infants who had died during delivery. Through collaboration with Saving Mothers Giving Life Uganda, she was able to identify several factors that contribute to an exceptionally high rate of stillbirths in a specific region.
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