HHS Strategic Plan, Fiscal Years 2007–2012 (Strategic Plan). Dissemination of Information

11/22/2015

HHS also develops and disseminates information and guidelines based on applied research results. For example, NIH continues to develop and disseminate guidance related to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). SIDS, a syndrome of unknown cause, is defined as the sudden death of an infant younger than 1 year of age, which remains unexplained even after a thorough case investigation, autopsy, and review of the clinical history. SIDS is the leading cause of postneonatal mortality in the United States. Led by NIH in collaboration with various sponsors, the National Back to Sleep public health education campaign was launched in 1994 after the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended back sleeping as the safest sleep position for infants younger than 1 year of age. Since the launch of the campaign, the SIDS rate has dropped by 50 percent.

However, despite the overall success of the campaign, African-American infants are placed to sleep on their stomachs more often than are White or Caucasian infants. The SIDS rate for African-American infants is two times greater than that of White or Caucasian infants. In collaboration with African-American organizations, NIH has developed comprehensive strategies to reduce SIDS in African-American communities. First, NIH launched a multiyear project to disseminate the American Academy of Pediatrics safe sleep guidelines in Mississippi. The project has multiple components, including training public health workers to convey SIDS risk reduction messages, developing partnerships with State and local stakeholders, and providing minigrants to community and faith-based organizations to assist with their outreach efforts. Second, a continuing education curriculum has been developed for nurses on safe sleep guidelines and effective ways to convey the risk reduction message. This curriculum will be implemented at regional and national conferences.

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