Mortality among very low-birthweight infants in hospitals serving minority populations

Leo S. Morales, Douglas Staiger, Jeffrey D. Horbar, Joseph Carpenter, Michael Kenny, Jeffrey Geppert, Jeannette Rogowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Objective. We investigated whether the proportion of Black very low-birthweight (VLBW) infants treated by hospitals is associated with neonatal mortality for Black and White VLBW infants. Methods. We analyzed medical records linked to secondary data sources for 74050 Black and White VLBW infants (501 g to 1500 g) treated by 332 hospitals participating in the Vermont Oxford Network from 1995 to 2000. Hospitals where more than 35% of VLBW infants treated were Black were defined as "minority-serving." Results. Compared with hospitals where less than 15% of the VLBW infants were Black, minority-serving hospitals had significantly higher risk-adjusted neonatal mortality rates (White infants: odds ratio [OR] = 1.30, 95% confidence interval [CI]= 1.09, 1.56; Black infants: OR = 1.29, 95% CI= 1.01, 1.64; Pooled: OR = 1.28, 95% CI = 1.10, 1.50). Higher neonatal mortality in minority-serving hospitals was not explained by either hospital or treatment variables. Conclusions. Minority-serving hospitals may provide lower quality of care to VLBW infants compared with other hospitals. Because VLBW Black infants are disproportionately treated by minority-serving hospitals, higher neonatal mortality rates at these hospitals may contribute to racial disparities in infant mortality in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2206-2212
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of public health
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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