Dr. Patricia Gabbe knew the statistics were bad, but she also knew she could do something about them. So she did.

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In 2010, in Weinland Park, a neighborhood near The Ohio State University main campus, the infant mortality rate was 14 per 1,000. The overall rate in Columbus wasn’t a lot better.

Gabbe, then a clinical professor of pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology at the university, knew many of these tragic losses were preventable. In 2010, she founded Moms2B, a support and education group.

The program worked. The mortality rate in Weinland Park has dropped five-fold, and the overall mortality rate in Franklin County is at a historic low, at less than 7 per 1,000. More than 4,000 participants have utilized Moms2B since its founding, and the results are clear. The program participants have babies at healthier birth weights, and those infants are more likely to be born at full term than women who are otherwise statistically similar but not in Moms2B. But more important are the human experiences and connections Moms2B has made possible.

Takiyah, a mother of two, benefited from Moms2B programs with her third baby.

“This was the first time I had this kind of support,” she says. “They checked up on me. I felt supported the whole time - it’s an awesome experience.” Takiyah also praised the community it creates. “It’s a safe space. You can ask whatever questions you have.”

Moms2B offers in-person sessions at four sites in Columbus as well as four Zoom sessions per week. Mothers receive a hot meal, diapers and a grocery card at each session. Childcare is offered. Nurses with experience in labor, delivery and postpartum issues attend the sessions to offer assistance and answer questions.

“These women need people they can trust. We focus on a lot of teaching, a lot of support,” says Dr. Gabbe.

Moms stay in the program throughout their pregnancies and through their infants’ first years. At the final meeting, Mom and baby get a celebratory clap out.

“The main goal is fighting infant mortality. The goal is to raise a happy, healthy baby and make sure mom is happy and healthy, too,” says Tabitha Hootman, Moms2B’s director since Dr. Gabbe’s retirement.

Investments in infant and early childhood quality of life are not only compassionate, they have a life-long impact on the the participants in programs such as Moms2B.

Moms2B’s services are always in need. Both Hootman and Dr. Kamilah Dixon, Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, assistant professor, and Moms2B’s medical director, say their goals include supporting even more women by opening additional sites in new locations.

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The Wexner Medical Center Development Office
c/o The Ohio State University Foundation
P.O. Box 736096
Chicago, IL 60673-6096

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