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National SIDS & Infant Death Program Support Center

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African American "Back to Sleep" Campaign

The Back to Sleep campaign, which began in 1992, has greatly impacted the rates of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in the U.S. Since the Back to Sleep recommendation was made, the rates of SIDS have dropped from over 5,000 to less than 2,500 infant deaths per year. Despite this success, the SIDS rates and the rate of stomach sleeping within the African American population remains 2 to 4 times that of white infants.

To address this disparity, a new component of the Back to Sleep campaign, specifically aimed at reducing the incidence of SIDS among African Americans has been implemented. The goal of this initiative is to encourage the development of a community-based approach to the elimination of this disparity. This outreach initiative is being led by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) of the National Institute of Health, the National Black Child Development Institute, the Health Resources and Services Administration, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), and National SIDS/ID Program Support Center.

The National SIDS/ID Program Support Center is partnering with the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority - Stork's Nest to take the SIDS risk reduction and education programs to African American communities throughout the nation. You can learn more about this partnerships here.

The Program Support Center has employed the Train the Trainer Outreach Model for this initiative, providing detailed training sessions at the regional conferences of the represented organization. From these trainings it is expected that the participants will be equipped with the necessary information and skills to not only provide training on the risk reduction message, but also develop outreach activities within their community. In order to better reach the African American community, the NICHD along with several partner organizations developed a Resource Kit for Reducing the Risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in African American Communities. The kit contains culturally appropriate materials such as fact sheets, brochures, magnets, a video, and a leader’s guide to lead discussion groups in various community settings on ways to reduce the risk of SIDS. By partnering with local SIDS Alliance affiliates, and other health related organizations the expectation is that outreach activities will be developed.

Throughout the country there are several organizations that are doing wonderful work getting the Back to Sleep message to minority communities as well as some underserved populations. The following link consists of a database of programs categorized according to location, cost, and sponsoring organization type and target population.

Outreach Activities Database 2/1/02

If you would like to showcase your program, please fill out the attached Outreach Information Form, and forward it back to the National SIDS & Infant Death Program Support Center. Through shared knowledge, resources and information, we can work together to reduce the rates of SIDS within the African American community.

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