The South Dakota State Medical Association Alliance (SDSMA Alliance) has raised $16,000 for Cribs for Kids, a program promoted by First Lady Linda Daugaard to help reduce infant mortality.
“In order to reduce infant mortality, it is crucial to promote safe sleep practices,” said Daugaard. “I am humbled that this much money was raised and that the fight against infant mortality has become a statewide effort.”
The money raised is enough to purchase 200 safe sleep kits from Cribs for Kids.
Each kit includes a crib, a sheet with a safe sleep message, a pacifier, a sleep sack and an educational brochure on safe-sleep practices. The SDSMA Alliance is working with the state Department of Health to distribute the cribs to those living in the alliance’s 12 districts.
The statewide SDSMA Alliance first became involved with Cribs for Kids in November of 2012 when the First Lady spoke to the Sioux Falls chapter about infant mortality and measures for prevention. Following the presentation, the alliance partnered with the First Lady and pledged to raise money for Cribs for Kids.
“The South Dakota State Medical Association Alliance recognizes the concern for the high rate of infant mortality in the State of South Dakota and was honored to be asked by First Lady Linda Daugaard to work with Cribs for Kids project this year,” said Grace Wellman, a member of the alliance. “Through our fundraising and awareness efforts, the SDSMA Alliance can help make an impact on reducing infant mortality in South Dakota.”
According to Wellman, the group recently received a national award recognizing their contribution to Cribs for Kids. The alliance was chosen out of 28 state entries to receive the AMA Alliance Health Awareness Promotion Award in Chicago on June 16.
After she became aware of the high infant mortality rate in South Dakota, Daugaard chaired the Governor’s Task Force on Infant Mortality. The task force was established in 2011 and offered its recommendations to the Governor in 2012. Early this year the task force reported significant improvements in areas such as prenatal care and safe sleep practices.