Coalitions Support Families Experiencing Loss, Focus on Systems Change Through FIMR

Healthy Start Coalitions join organizations worldwide this month in remembering families that have experienced a loss during pregnancy.  Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is observed October 15 and will be marked by memorials and other activities, such as the Walk to Remember, held annually in Tallahassee by the Capital Area Healthy Start Coalition.

Nearly one out of every four pregnancies results in a miscarriage, fetal or infant death. In addition to providing support for families, about a third of the Healthy Start Coalitions lead a systems-focused examination of these deaths through Fetal & Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) projects.

Adopted by Florida in 1992, FIMR projects are community-based efforts to identify and understand the issues associated with fetal and infant mortality and morbidity and to develop strategies that improve perinatal systems of care, locally and statewide. Coalitions leverage funding from the Florida Department of Health to implement a process endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation and the federal Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

This review process includes detailed record audits and parent interviews, and presentation to an expert review panel which makes specific recommendations to the local community for action.  A Community Action Team, comprised of local leaders and advocates, oversees implementation of recommendations.

The goal of FIMR is to identify strengths and areas for improvements in overall services systems and community resources for women, children and families. FIMR also provides direction towards the development of new policies to safeguard them.