SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) _ St. Joseph County health officials are seeking the state’s help to reduce the number of babies who never see their first birthdays.

The county has applied for a grant to fund a program addressing an infant mortality rate that doubled between 2011 and 2014. The South Bend Tribune reports ( ) the county saw 8.5 deaths per 1,000 live births. The statewide rate is 7.7 per 1,000 live births.

Health officials say they are particularly troubled by the rate among black infants, which was nearly four times as high as that for white infants.

The Fetal Infant Mortality Review program would enlist graduate-level nursing students to gather case data whenever a baby or fetus dies. The program would examine social, economic, cultural and other factors in the death.