Reducing Racial Disparities
Addressing Extreme Prematurity
Eliminating Sleep-Related Deaths
For more than five decades, Cuyahoga County has had one of the highest infant death rates in the country. In 2015, the county was the second-worst of 88 counties in Ohio. Among 100 US cities with the highest number of preterm births, Cleveland's premature birth rate was the worst.
First Year Cleveland (FYC) is a community movement dedicated to reversing this trend and helping all babies celebrate their first birthdays.
FYC was established in December 2015 by community leaders who were alarmed by the number of babies dying in Cuyahoga County. In a city with outstanding health care and supportive services, these leaders believed there was a way to develop an effective, comprehensive and sustainable approach to solving infant mortality.
Today, this collaborative effort brings together parents and expectant parents, community leaders, philanthropic organizations, government and business entities, health care providers, educational institutions, nonprofits and the faith-based community. These partners and many volunteers actively participate on our 11 FYC action teams and are tasked with identifying the underlying issues contributing to infant deaths and creating sustainable solutions.
We are focused on our mission of mobilizing the community through partnerships and a unified strategy to reduce infant deaths and racial disparities. Our work includes focused research, educational programs and community awareness initiatives that address our priority areas of reducing racial inequities, addressing extreme prematurity and eliminating sleep-related deaths.
Early efforts have been encouraging — proving that success is possible — but much more needs to be done to keep our babies alive and healthy so they can reach their first birthday. Join us as we work together to reduce Cuyahoga County's infant mortality rate from the 2015 baseline of 10.5 to 6.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births in 2020.
First Year Cleveland is housed at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, its fiscal agent, and receives in-kind support for its operations. Financial support is provided by Ohio Department of Medicaid, Ohio Department of Health, including Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Ohio Equity Institute; Cuyahoga County, County Executive Armond Budish and Cuyahoga County Council; the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson and Cleveland City Council; Sisters of Charity Foundation; the Mt. Sinai Health Care Foundation and the George Gund Foundation.
Our strategic plan provides an in-depth look into our approach for significantly reducing infant deaths by 2020.
This group of more than 400 prospective and current parents, along with community stakeholders including health care providers, grassroot entities, public and private entities, faith-based organizations and the philanthropic community, are working on interconnected interventions across twelve FYC Action Teams.
In order to achieve our goals, First Year Cleveland established twelve FYC Action Teams that are now working to implement coordinated activities that support our three priority areas focused on reducing infant mortality throughout Cuyahoga County.
Our executive director and our executive committee members, along with a host of volunteers and staff members, are dedicating significant time and resources to ensure we reach our goals.
Our thanks to our partners who provide the funding to help us carry out our mission. We thank them for their dedication to this important work.
Based on expertise, local and national research and qualitative research with local and state leaders in infant mortality, 13 Engagement and Public Policy Agenda items have been established for First Year Cleveland.
Building community awareness is important to the FYC movement. Find the latest stories featuring our work.
1 of 22