The crisis

Black mothers and their babies in Dane County face staggering risks to their lives and futures from the impact of racism and inequities embedded in our institutions, communities, and health care system.

Wisconsin has consistently ranked among states with the highest rate of Black infant mortality, previously 1st in the nation, and the maternal mortality rate is presently three times higher for Black women than white women.

These gaps in birth outcomes occur alongside a troubling track record of stubborn health disparities. African American residents comprise roughly 5% of the population, but are overrepresented in all major categories of disease and illness. Black women and men are more likely than their peers to live with and die from treatable and preventable illnesses, and at younger ages.

impact on black mothers

Black mothers and families in Dane County are hopeful and resilient, but too many of them — of all education and income levels — live in a state of chronic and toxic stress that poses serious consequences to their health. We must invest in improving community conditions, healthcare and outcomes for Black women throughout their lives, not just when they’re pregnant.

"Black Women will achieve health equity when there are no social, economic or political barriers to keep us from living our best lives."
Linda Goler Blount
President, Black Women’s Health Imperative (2018 Black Women’s Wellness Day Keynote Speaker)

impact on black Babies

Babies born to Black mothers in Dane County are twice as likely to be born at low birth weight than babies born to white mothers, placing them at increased risk of significant health and developmental challenges, and of dying within the first year of life. Babies born at a low birth weight may be more likely than others to have certain health conditions later in life, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, intellectual and developmental disabilities, metabolic syndrome and obesity, according to the March of Dimes.

Stay Connected

With the right investments and collaborations at the local level, we can repair the damage caused by decades of racism and discrimination that were built into the foundation of our systems and institutions.  Together, we will create a Dane County where Black moms, babies and families can thrive.
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