CINCINNATI - A video by Mayor Mark Mallory on how to improve Cincinnati's infant mortality rate is among the finalists in a contest featured on a popular website.
Mallory's proposal is among the 20 finalists in Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge. Viewers can vote for their favorite proposal in the online competition at The Huffington Post.
The winning entry will get a $5 million grand prize. Also, there will be four $1 million runner-up prizes awarded.
"Check out the videos and vote for Cincinnati," Mallory said in a prepared statement.
"The Bloomberg Challenge is a great opportunity for Cincinnati," he added. "The funding will help us expand access to medical care for pregnant mothers and help improve our infant mortality rate."
Cincinnati's infant mortality rate is more than twice the national average, and more than half of its infant deaths occur in just five inner-city zip codes.
Infant mortality rates are measured by the number of deaths of babies under one year of age per 1,000 births.
Although the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.8 percent in 2010, the rate locally was 13.3 percent for 2006-2010.
Mallory is seeking prize money to expand the city's First Steps program that monitors expectant mothers in targeted area and gives them access to a network of early intervention, education, and community-oriented care.
Mothers who participated in a pilot program that the city conducted with University of Cincinnati Medical Center had fewer infant deaths.
The infant mortality rate for participants was 32 percent lower than the city at-large -- 9.2 deaths per 1,000 live births versus 13.6.
"To put the scope of the problem in perspective, in Cincinnati, we have had more infant deaths in recent years than victims of homicide," Mallory wrote in his proposal.
"Our community, justifiably, invests millions of dollars, immense political capital, and large amounts of media attention in reducing our homicide rate," Mallory wrote. "It's time to start doing the same for our infant mortality rate."
The Mayors Challenge Fan Favorite contest runs from Feb. 20-March 6. The winning city will receive a $50,000 services grant from IBM to support implementation, along with featured coverage from The Huffington Post.