A Mahoning County group tasked with fighting the problem of African-American infant mortality has been awarded $1.88 million to help in their cause. 

My Baby's 1st Coalition, a division of the Mahoning County Infant Mortality Prevention Coalition, will use the money over the next two years to fund efforts across a collection of Valley agencies. 

Those agencies include the Mercy Health Resource Mothers, Youngstown City Health District, Mahoning County Public Health, Alta Healthcare, and Akron Children's Hospital. 

The money will also be used to provide legal services for pregnant women through Northeast Ohio Community Legal Aid. 

Mahoning county health director Pat Sweeney said these legal services are particularly important because low-income women often face challenges that legal assistance could help them with. 

Sweeney said these challenges can include anything from facing eviction or losing Medicaid benefits to helping to get out of situations involving domestic violence. 

Sweeney said these types of medical-legal partnerships are part of more of a national trend aimed at addressing all aspects that can lead to a high infant mortality rate. 

Infant mortality in Mahoning county has long exceeded the national average, particularly in the black community.