Drive-thru community baby shower works to improve state’s maternal mortality rate

Cars line up for give-aways at drive-thru baby shower in the parking lot of Word and Worship Church.

Mississippi Link Newswire,

Cars lined the parking lot at Word and Worship Church Saturday, June 4, 2022, as expectant and new parents awaited the start of a drive thru community baby shower. Sponsored by the Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health (IAMH), each family received items such as diapers, books, bottles and onesies to welcome their new addition to the family. Pack and plays, baby bathtubs and other gifts were also distributed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Mississippi has the country’s highest infant mortality rate, at 9.7 deaths per 1,000 live births. The maternal mortality rate is 20.8. Pregnant black people face disproportionate risks when giving birth.

According to, the infant mortality rate for black children in the U.S. is double the rate for white children. Maternal mortality rates show similarly grim patterns, with forty-four deaths per 100,000 live births among black people compared to 17.9 per 100,000 live births for white people. These statistics are the main catalyst for the drive thru community baby shower.

“This is the third event of this type we have hosted in 2022. This work is critical because our state has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the United States,” said Dr. Sandra Melvin, CEO, Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health. “By providing resources to these women, we hope to help them gain access to the services they need.”

To ensure moms did not go without due to the coronavirus pandemic, IAMH began hosting drive thru baby showers in 2020.

“COVID-19 placed unusual hardships and limitations on people giving birth,” said Asia McCoy, program manager, IAMH. “Because many families are still feeling the impact of the shutdown, slow supply chain and worker shortages, it is a little bit difficult for moms to get all the necessary items that they need. IAMH is committed to lessening that burden by giving out items baby care items, educational fact sheets and diapers.”

Ashley Tose’ attended the community baby shower. “I want to personally thank them for the baby gifts. Today’s society presents constant challenges and struggles for minority families. Every little bit helps.”

Ninety individuals registered for this baby shower. IAMH will host additional events of this type throughout the year.

The Institute for the Advancement of Minority Health was established in 2019 to reduce health disparities among disadvantaged and underserved minority populations in Mississippi through the development of collaborative partnerships with community stakeholders and the impleåmentation of evidence-based public health interventions with a particular focus on health equity.

Follow IAMH on social media via Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Contact IAMH at or (769) 572-5263.

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