Grassroots Maternal & Child Health

To improve infant mortality rates, ask the women.

The Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training Initiative Project trains and mentors women to help their neighborhoods improve pregnancy and infant development outcomes. They work to make change at the community, organizational and policy levels, while meeting the needs of women, infants and families in their neighborhoods by linking them to services.

A Place-Based Approach: Leaders work in Indiana zip codes with persistently high infant mortality rates. Leaders work to understand the root causes behind these high rates and work to build a community where every pregnancy and baby has the opportunity to thrive!

Each grassroots maternal and child health leader (GMCHL) is trained in

  • Leadership Development
  • Community Health Promotion
  • Causes and Consequences of Adverse Birth Outcomes (infant mortality, preterm birth, low birth weight)
  • Promoting Health Equity
  • Media Development
  • Policy Advocacy and Development

We mentor each participant to:

  • Foster her professional development
  • Survey community needs regarding pregnancy and infant development
  • Connect her with local infant mortality reduction programs desired by her community
  • Develop media products highlighting her grassroots work
  • Develop and advocate for policies that promote healthy birth outcomes

For More Information Contact

Initiative Director: Jack Turman, Jr, PhD, Professor
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health
Professor of Pediatrics, Department of Pediatrics, School of Medicine
Indiana University, Indianapolis, IN | 317-278-0354

This initiative is funded by Riley Children’s Foundation and individual philanthropists

Success Stories









Meet Indiana’s First Grassroots MCH Leaders!

Learn the personal stories, leadership priorities and the growing list of leadership successes of each Grassroots MCH Leader. 

Read their stories


14A baby dies every 14 hours in Indiana

1 in 16Infant deaths caused by unsafe sleep

6.8Deaths per 1,000 live births (2018)

2,994Infant deaths from 2014-2018

10.2%Preterm births (2018)

8.1%Low birth weight (2018)

For more data on infant mortality in Indiana, or your county, please visit ISDH's website.

If you are in need of help with your pregnancy, visit the MOMS helpline website, or call the helpline: 844-MCH-MOMS (844-624-6667).

Learn More About Our Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leadership Initiative

IUPUI Partners

Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health

IU School of Medicine
Department of Pediatrics

IU School of Nursing

IU School of Liberal Arts, IUPUI
Department of English
Department of Sociology
IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute

IU Herron School of Art and Design
Department of Visual Communication Design
Department of Fine Art

IUPUI University Information Technology Services

IUHealth Department of Spiritual Care
Chaplaincy & Congregational Partnerships

Community Partners

Glick Properties

Fathers and Families Center

Bartholomew County Public Health Department

Indiana Institute for Working Families

Indianapolis Healthy Start

Mt. Zion Baptist Church

Indiana Department of Corrections

Indiana State Department of Health, MCH Division


Support Our Grassroots Leaders

By making a gift by clicking Give Now, your gift will support an account used for expenditures incurred by the Fairbanks School of Public Health for purposes of the Grassroots Maternal and Child Health Leadership Training project. This gift will be administered by the Indiana University Foundation, which represents Indiana University. This is not a gift to Riley Children’s Hospital, and the Riley Children’s Foundation will not play a role in administering this account.

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