The mission of Healthier Beginnings is to close the disparity gap and improve birth outcomes by providing an equal opportunity for optimal prenatal health for African-American/Black women.
Who We Are
The Healthier Beginnings for African American/Black Communities: An Aurora Healthy Baby Initiative is a community collaborative that seeks to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes of African American/Black infants in Aurora. African American/Black babies are two to three times more likely as white babies to be born low-birth weight and to die within the first year of life. There is no discernible cause for these disparities. In addition, low-birth weight babies can have serious long term health problems including cerebral palsy, sight and hearing problems, and significant learning disabilities that can last a lifetime. The birth of a high risk baby is emotionally and economically devastating to the parents and family. This health disparity also impacts health care costs for the community, businesses, and the health care system locally and nationally. The collaborative recognizes that this is a complex issue and that we need to make a long-term commitment to reduce infant mortality and poor birth outcomes within the African American/Black families.
This collaborative seeks to bring together respected leaders from a variety of stakeholder groups, including civic / service agencies, educators, health care professionals, primary care providers, mothers/fathers/family members impacted by infant death and poor birth outcomes, and faith based organizations. The collaborative has conducted research to analyze the infant birth/death data for this population to inform community strategies and implement a community action steps to substantially improve birth outcomes.
In the last ten years the City of Aurora’s percentage of African American/Black residents has increased almost 400 percent almost 51,000 people; with this sharp rise focusing on health of pre-conception/inter-conception, newborns and infants has never been more necessary. In 2006, the starting of Healthier Beginnings conducted 13 key interviews, with healthcare professionals, community organizations and political leaders in Aurora.
These interviews discovered an issue with the increased rates of infant mortality within the African American/Black community. The group that was formed to start combating this health disparity, turned into the first collaborative, Aurora Healthier Beginnings. Aurora Healthier Beginnings and now is the program implementation initiative to carry out the mission of Healthier Beginnings, Inc.
Knowing that this community is almost two and a half times more likely to be born with low birth weight and die within the first year of life. This statistic continue to be support by many research programs including the Genesee Project Reach team that has studied infant mortality rate in the African American/Black Community since the 90’s; This is not acceptable, Healthier Beginnings is working to lower this rate to that of other ethnicities within Aurora, and serve as a model for other communities.