The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has a strong tradition supporting innovative, place-based efforts to improve birth outcomes by shinning a light on the social and racial barriers that all too often prevent vulnerable children and families from receiving access to the health care they need.
As the director of the bureau of family, maternal and child health for the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), Alethia Carr is all too familiar with the consistent health disparity that exists between racial populations, especially when it comes to infant mortality rates. While many want to search for a single root cause to this disparity – such as economic status – Carr said it’s a systemic problem that requires a multi-pronged approach.
“It’s more than the one thing. Even if you adjust for economics there are still disparities that happen in the way that people are treated and that affects their health, and it shows in infant mortality. It shows in other health conditions,” Carr said, adding that it’s imperative that we must do things differently to improve the outcomes of all women’s births. “Because really, if infants don’t live, we don’t have the healthy adults to carry on and be productive individuals within the state”
With the help of the Kellogg Foundation, Carr and the MDCH provide a variety of services and programs to make a positive effect on pregnancy outcomes, as well as child growth and development for families across Michigan.
“I believe in a Michigan where all pregnant women are able to carry their infants to term and have healthy babies,” Carr said.