Franciscan Health Michigan City will participate in a new Safety PIN (Protecting Indiana’s Newborns) grant provided by the Indiana Department of Health to lower infant mortality in Northern Indiana. Beacon Health System is the primary grant holder for the Region 2 collaborative. Along with Franciscan Health Michigan City, St. Joseph Health System, Elkhart County Department of Health and the St. Joseph County Department of Health will share funds from the grant of just over $1 million. Region 2 includes LaPorte, St. Joseph, Elkhart and Marshall counties.

Franciscan Health Michigan City’s efforts will center on its Prenatal Assistance Program, which will begin operations this fall in the repurposed Homer Street campus. The program provides prenatal care and outreach to expectant mothers with limited family income. The program includes a curriculum of about 10 visits prenatal and postpartum. The team is led by a registered nurse and includes case management specialists, who work to mitigate the health, economic and social risk factors that contribute to infant mortality. Through the grant, Beacon Health System is providing the support of a clinically licensed therapist to assist women with any maternal mood disorders and any psychological issues in their family.

Also located out of the Homer Street campus with the Prenatal Assistance Program will be a B.A.B.E. store, a Beacon program for Michigan City and surrounding communities. Expectant mothers and parents are offered incentives to earn coupons through prenatal appointments, attending parenting classes. The coupons may be redeemed at the B.A.B.E. store for essential supplies, from diapers to childproofing essentials.

Indiana’s Safety PIN grant operates on a four-year grant cycle. The first two years of performance is evaluated by making sure that infant mortality has been reduced by 0.1 percent before the final two years of funds are released. The infant mortality rate in Indiana’s Region 2 in 2018 was 7.8 percent, which is higher than both the Indiana and national rates.