University of Wisconsin Program Looks to Cut the Black Infant Mortality Rate in Half

Infant mortality for African-American babies in Racine, Wisconsin, is at a very high rate of 20.4 for every 1,000 live births. In Milwaukee the rate is 14.2 per every 1,000 live births. Infant mortality in Racine is higher for college-educated African-American women than for white women who didn’t graduate from high school.

A new effort has been launched with the goal to reduce the infant mortality rate in Racine by 50 percent. The effort is being led by Teresa Johnson, an associate professor in the College of Nursing at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.

To reach its goal, the initiative plans to strengthen health care for black women before, during, and after pregnancy. The effort also will include programs to educate fathers and other family members on support and care for pregnant women.

The program is funded by a $180,000 grant through an initiative at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.