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New panel looks at ways to address Ohio's infant mortality rate, review existing efforts

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COLUMBUS, Ohio — A new state panel assessing Ohio's efforts to address infant mortality hopes to produce a report with its recommendations by the end of the year.

Members of the Infant Mortality Commission want to improve accountability and coordination around the state's initiatives to prevent infant deaths. The panel had its first meeting Wednesday.

Ohio's infant mortality rate is among the worst in the nation.

Infant mortality is measured as deaths of live-born babies before their first birthdays. The three leading causes of such deaths in Ohio are prematurity or pre-term births, sleep-related deaths and birth defects.

State Sen. Shannon Jones says the commission plans bimonthly meetings with a reporting goal of Dec. 31. The panel will take an inventory of state programs and funding that addresses the problem.

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