Kenosha County to receive grant to tackle African American infant mortality

Kenosha County will soon start work toward tackling infant mortality in the African American community after receiving a grant from the Wisconsin Partnership Program.

A $200,000 planning and early implementation grant from the Oversight and Advisory Committee of the UW School of Medicine and Public Health was awarded to a community coalition, led by the Black Health Coalition of Greater Kenosha. The coalition includes strong partnerships with the Kenosha County Department of Human Services and the United Way of Kenosha County, along with extensive support from local faith-based organizations, health care systems, and community groups. The grant will be overseen by Gwen Perry-Brye, chair of the Black Health Coalition of Greater Kenosha and Nurse Practitioner with the Kenosha County Health Department.

The grant funds were awarded as part of the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, the WPP’s $10 million overall commitment to address infant mortality in Wisconsin’s black community. The Lifecourse Initiative looks at infant mortality along the lifespan, focusing on health during pre-child bearing years and chronic diseases after child bearing.

“I am very pleased that Kenosha County is receiving this grant. The infant mortality rate among African Americans is abysmal and it needs our serious attention,” Kenosha County Executive Jim Kreuser said. “Kenosha County is committed to taking the steps necessary to do something about it.”

Kenosha County has seen a disproportionate number of infant deaths in the African American population. From 2002-2006, Kenosha County’s infant mortality rate among African Americans (18 deaths per 1,000 births) was more than four times the rate for whites.

The bulk of the grant will be used to set a course toward improving access to maternal and child health resources and tailoring community-specific action plans that use evidence-based practices to close the racial disparity in birth outcomes. $10,000 will also be used to extend the Mom/Baby Talk program, an education and support program for new mothers in Kenosha. These funds will enable the group to reach out to at least 10 percent of the high-risk African American women who give birth in Kenosha County.

For more information on infant mortality in Kenosha County, or resources for recent or expecting mothers, please call the Health Department directly at (262) 605-6700 or (800) 472-8008.


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