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Group focused on infant mortality loses funding

A Baltimore non-profit organization that works to reduce infant mortality in the city lost its federal funding and may shut its doors, the group said Monday.

Baltimore Healthy Start Inc. reported the nearly $2.5 million was most of the annual budget, used for programs in Rosemont, Edmondson Village, Sandtown/Winchester, Middle East and Highlandtown. The largely African American communities have higher infant mortality rates.

For the first time this year grants were awarded as part of a competitive process that considered evidence-based approaches to improving women's health and access to care and improving and tracking the quality of services provided, among other areas, Health Resources and Services Administration spokesman Martin Kramer said.

The federal agency handed out $65 million last week to 87 organizations in 33 states, and required past grant recipients such as Baltimore Healthy Start to develop a plan to transition clients to others for services.

Baltimore Healthy Start plans to wind down services to its 682 clients but continue to look for new sponsors, according to Maxine Reed Vance, the group's director of quality assurance and clinical affairs.

The group receives no funds from Baltimore City, but has worked with the Baltimore's Health Department on its campaign, called B'more for Healthy Babies, which has reduced infant mortality by 28 percent in the past five years.

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