A new comprehensive program is tackling the infant mortality crisis in Racine. The city’s infant mortality rate among blacks is among the highest in the world, exceeding a number of third-world countries. An African American baby born in that city is nearly three times more likely to die – before his or her first birthday – than a white baby.
Carole Johnson with the Johnson Foundation at Wingspread says their multi-year research takes a look at how “systems” interact in the lifespan of black women. These women may be dealing with things such as racism, stress, family issues or economic disparity.
However Johnson says infant mortality also affects middle class black families. Contrary to misperceptions that link the problem solely with teen mothers, the rate in Racine among African American women is higher for those ages 20-to-34.
The Foundation’s action plan involves improving health care services for women, strengthening families to include fathers and addressing social and economic inequities.