about born to be
Calhoun County’s infant mortality rate exceeds Michigan’s average by over 40%. The county also has a high rate of babies born pre-term and underweight – key factors in infant mortality. In response to this public health crisis, organizations are working together to launch an initiative to promote better maternal and infant health and to prevent infant deaths. We can only achieve these goals by working collectively and involving the entire community – including leaders of health and human service agencies, physicians and providers, nurses, social workers, and case managers; community groups; leaders in education; faith-based organizations; and parents, grandparents, and caregivers.
Engaging the Community
Over 500 Calhoun County women provided feedback, via focus groups and surveys, about what they want and need from their prenatal care, pregnancy care, and delivery. Over 50% of local pregnant women want help in making healthier food choices and becoming more physically active during pregnancy. 42% of study participants reported they were not provided with referrals to health and social service organizations when needed. The study also found women want better connections to resources for healthy pregnancy, and want the community to show it cares more about babies.
In response to the study, this initiative will create and support multiple campaigns and programs to address maternal and infant health. The first three priorities are as follows:
The initiative’s steering committee, called the Pregnancy Care Workgroup, brings together leaders from key agencies and institutions, including OB/GYN physicians and providers, the health department, home visitation programs, social services, childhood education, as well as representatives of hospitals and community groups – to ensure that the best navigation and referral systems are in place to connect pregnant women to services and resources.
Maternal and infant health messages will be delivered across Calhoun County through multi-faceted campaigns implemented by organizations serving pregnant women, infants, and young families. Information will be provided in new, innovative ways that work for recipients.
Born To Be, and all related initiatives, will reflect our community’s commitment to healthy mothers and healthy babies.
Our vision is for all Calhoun County infants to be born healthy and thrive.
and Future Plans
Born To Be is a long-term initiative with long-term strategies and goals and is built on collaboration among organizations and in the community. Many individuals and organizations are committed to serving pregnant women, infants, and young families through their programs or services. This initiative brings those efforts together for greater impact while creating and implementing new strategies as well. We invite all interested parties to get involved.