Beloit Awarded $450,000 grant to Reduce Infant Mortality

MADISON (WIFR) -- The Wisconsin Partnership Program has pledged $450,000 to three Beloit projects aimed at improving support for African-American women and their families, and ultimately, eliminating racial disparities in birth outcomes in Beloit.

The statewide grant total of $3.4 million also includes targeted efforts in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine, which along with Beloit accounted for nearly 90 percent of African-American infant deaths in Wisconsin in recent years. Grants were awarded through the Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF), a $10 million initiative launched in 2009 by the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health and its Wisconsin Partnership Program, to address the high incidence of infant mortality in the state.

“We are finding new and exciting ways to address community needs and support families to have healthy birth outcomes,” says Angela Moore, Beloit LIHF project manager. “Looking beyond traditional program service approaches, we are also tackling system and policy issues that influence health outcomes.”
The projects work toward advancing the interventions and strategies recommended by Beloit community leaders in their local action plan. They combine the unique skills and practical expertise of community groups, nonprofit organizations and government agencies with those of university faculty and staff. The Partnership previously supported Beloit’s two-year planning process with a grant of $247,000.

Beloit College, through the leadership of Provost Ann Davies, has also been deeply involved serving as fiscal agent for the Beloit Lifecouse Collaborative.
At the Feb. 27 meeting of the partnership’s Oversight and Advisory Committee (OAC), the Wisconsin Partnership granted funds to these Beloit projects:
• Bethel AME Church Jobs for Fathers ($150,000)
Bethel Church in Beloit will provide pre-employment training and support for African- American fathers age 18 to 30 through “a community circle” and seminars designed to strengthen father involvement with family and secure transitional and family-sustaining jobs. The community partner is Brenda Atlas, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, and the academic partner is Dr. Jeffrey Lewis.
• Family Peer Navigation and Home Visit Project ($150,000)
This project will expand home visiting services for pregnant African-American women and families in Beloit. A systems navigator and trained peer navigators will improve access to community resources through information, referrals and advocacy. The community partner is Nancy Brooks, Children’s Service Society of Wisconsin.
• Rock County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Team ($150,000)
This project will develop a systematic and multidisciplinary analysis of fetal and infant deaths in Rock County, and identify potential policy and environmental solutions to reduce mortality rates. The community partner is Janet Zoellner, Rock County Health Department, and the academic partner is Dr. Timothy Corden, UW SMPH.
The OAC committee will consider additional proposals at its next meeting. For a complete listing of 2013 grantees, go to http://med.wisc.edu/40328
The Wisconsin Partnership Program’s endowment resulted from the conversion of Blue Cross Blue Shield to a for-profit corporation. It is charged with improving public health in Wisconsin.


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