Infant Mortality in Detroit

Despite the existence of high quality, nationally recognized health systems in metropolitan Detroit, the appalling rates of death and racial health disparities among the most vulnerable members of our community - infants - rival that of third-world countries.

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The reasons behind these disparate health outcomes are complex, but likely include the absence of a coordinated, public-private effort to link at-risk women to needed medical and social resources in a timely manner. Consequently, the safety net has gaping holes.

The Sew Up the Safety Net for Women and Children (SUSN) program was designed by the Detroit Regional Infant Mortality Reduction Task Force to "sew up the safety net" by connecting the right people (at-risk women and neighborhood navigators) to the right places (clinical and social services in or near their neighborhood), at the right time (before women present with poor birth outcomes). The Women Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network: Detroit is a part of the SUSN program for the Detroit community.

While poor access to primary care continues to pose a fundamental challenge, women most at-risk for infant mortality often live in neighborhoods surrounded by underutilized healthcare and social services and other community entities that could support the health and wellbeing of their families. WIN Network: Detroit focuses on three of the city’s neighborhoods: Brightmoor, Chadsey-Condon, and Osborn. Although infant mortality rates are higher in these neighborhoods, residents are surrounded by a strong network of organized services that offer resources, accessible medical care, and assistance for everyday life. Our Community Neighborhood Navigators (CNNs) are based in community centers in each of these areas. WIN Network: Detroit connects women in these neighborhoods to the programs and resources that exist to serve them.

The following table shows the percentage of certain indicators of infant mortality for each of the three neighborhoods that WIN Network: Detroit works in. (Note: Data is from 2006-2008)

Project Need

IMR

IMR_Abnormal_Weight

IMR_Pre-term

IMR_Pregnancies

IMR_Premature

IMR_prenatal

IMR_stress

Contributors to infant death in Detroit:

  • Prematurity and low birth weight - 29%
  • Intermediate or inadequate prenatal care - 61%
  • Less than a 12th grade education - 42%
  • Unintended pregnancy - 30.5%
  • Multiple stressors/social chaos - 21.3%
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