Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Human Environmental Sciences

Degree Level



Human Nutrition and Hospitality Innovation


Ballentine, Hope

Committee Member/Reader

Bailey, Mechelle

Committee Member/Second Reader

Ogbeide, Godwin-Charles

Committee Member/Third Reader

Southward, Leigh


“Our infant mortality rate is a national embarrassment.”1 The words seem shocking and harsh across the headline of a 2014 Washington Post article. The thought of America not only not being the best at something, but falling upsettingly behind, is a foreign concept to many who view America as a nation inferior to none. However, the statistics on infant mortality rate tell the stark truth that of 26 “wealthy” countries, the U.S. ranks last, with a sobering 6.1 deaths per 1,000 live infant births.2

Part of the Healthy People 2020 Objectives is to reduce the rate of infant deaths within one year.3 There are many other objectives aimed at improving health before, during, and after pregnancy for both mother and baby, which will serve to achieve a lower infant mortality rate as well.

This project will attempt to contribute to the improvement of birth outcomes in America by surveying freshman women to identify beliefs and knowledge about birth and optimal outcomes. I will further analyze which areas need further education opportunities for women based on how the responses compare to the current evidence for best practice in childbirth. Identifying educational needs and promoting opportunities that teach women how to investigate for themselves and make evidence-based decisions regarding their care will be an important step in moving toward better outcomes in birth in America and better outcomes in health in general.