LUCAS COUNTY (WTOL) - Tuesday night neighbors met to figure out how Toledo and Lucas County can make sure babies in the area live longer.
The Toledo-Lucas County Getting to 1 Coalition and the Commission on Minority Health is addressing the serious issue of infant mortality by holding a meeting at the Frederick Douglass Community Center.
The infant mortality rates are not getting much better, and leaders are now asking what can they do to make neighbors in the community get involved?
Health department leaders said this is not a medical issue, this is a community issue, and it needs to get better.
Leaders from the Getting to 1 Coalition wants to get everyone to come together on this.
The goal Tuesday was to inform people about what is going on with this problem, and lay out how they can help.
Right now, leaders feel like they have feet on the ground in the community, but they are still missing a large percentage of neighbors who aren't engaged on this issue.
They want the meetings and programs they offer filled to capacity. Tuesday leaders from TARTA, along with United Way's 2-1-1 spoke to neighbors.
In 2015, the rate of black babies dying was 10 times the rate of white babies, In 2016 the statistic got a little better, but, health department leaders said they haven't done a good enough job reaching out to the community.
They want to be more inclusive and get you to participate in ending infant mortality in our area.
"To give us an idea and suggestions on how do we move forward? How do we change this horrible disparity gap between our black and our white infant mortality rates? But, we can't do it by ourselves, so this is an attempt to try to engage the community by having a meeting in the evening instead of during the day," said Celeste Smith, the Community and Minority Health Supervisor for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.
Smith said leaders plan on making changes on how they do things based on what they hear at this meeting, and will continue holding meetings whenever it is most convenient for everyone.