In This Issue:

Strong Start | Healthy Start

Strong Start | Healthy Start is an initiative of the Ingham County Health Department to enhance the health of African-American families and improve birth outcomes in Ingham County. We provide services which include home visiting for expectant and parenting moms and dads with a child up to age two. We also offer free health education workshops that are open to educate pregnant and parenting women, men, families, and the community.

Healthy Start Team
Health Officer
Ingham County Health Department

Deputy Health Officer
Ingham County Health Department

Regina TraylorMSN, RN, CNS
Director, Maternal Child Health Division
Program Supervisor
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Crystal P. TylerPHD, MPH
Strong Start | Healthy Start Evaluator
Program Director, Center for Child and Family Health
Michigan Public Health Institute
Alysia Osoff, MSN, RN, CEN
Senior Public Health Nurse
Fetal & Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Coordinator

Health Educator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Fatherhood Facilitator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Action Network Coordinator
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Health Worker
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Health Worker
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Community Health Worker
Strong Start | Healthy Start

Peer Advisor, Dads Matter Program

Administrative Support
Maternal Child Health Division
Quick Links

Departmental and Community Partners
Department of Human Services, Ingham County

Expectant Parent's Organization

Family Outreach Services, Ingham County Health Department

Greater Lansing African-American Health Institute

Infant Mortality Coalition

Ingham County Health Department

Ingham Great Start Collaborative

Ingham Healthy Families

Ingham Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition

Greater Lansing Clergy Forum

Great Parents, Great Start Program

Lansing Housing Commission

League of Women Voters

Maternal Infant Health Program, Ingham County Health Department

McLaren of Greater Lansing

Michigan Public Health Institute

Michigan State University, College of Nursing

Nurse Family Partnership, Ingham County Health Department

Parent-Infant Program

Pathways to Better Health
Power of We Consortium

Shared Pregnancy Women's Center

South Side Community Coalition

Sparrow Health System

Tomorrow's Child

Willow Tree Family Center
Healthy Start Progress
Four Years of Healthy Start in Ingham County
In 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services funded the Healthy Start initiative in Ingham County, which had an infant mortality rate that was 1.5 to 2.5 higher than the national average. With fiduciary and administrative oversight from the Ingham County Health Department, Strong Start | Healthy Start, our local Healthy Start program, implemented an innovative approach that included a coordinated, comprehensive, culturally competent model of health and other support services.  Strong Start | Healthy Start utilizes a community-driven, systems development approach to reduce infant mortality and improve the health and well-being of women, infants, children, and families.
Nationally, Healthy Start initiatives, which were first launched as demonstration programs in 1991, were developed based on the premise that community-driven strategies were needed to attack the causes of infant death and low birthweight, especially among high-risk populations.  It focuses on the need to strengthen and enhance community systems of maternal and infant care, and works with communities to address the medical, behavioral, social service, and cultural needs of women, men, and infants.
Locally, Strong Start | Healthy Start has contributed enormously to our knowledge of what works to reduce infant mortality and health disparities.  Taking responsibility as innovators, Strong Start | Healthy Start has worked with key leaders, forming partnerships and drawing on the unique strengths of our community to transform our neighborhoods, as well as producing substantive outputs and outcomes supported by evaluation data. 
Now, more than 25 years nationally, and 4 years locally, Healthy Start continues to empower communities with extremely high rates of infant mortality to provide community-based, culturally sensitive, evidence-based, family-centered, comprehensive perinatal services to women, infants, and their families -and to integrate these services into existing perinatal systems of care.  The mission of all 105 currently funded Healthy Start communities requires reaching beyond the well-being of newborns and address the well-being and empowerment of mothers, fathers, families, and entire communities.
Much has been learned since the launch of Strong Start | Healthy Start in 2012 and the dashboard below, under the Home Visiting section, provides a brief overview of FY 15-16 (June 1, 2015 - March 31, 2016) and the impact that we are having in Ingham County.  It is designed to portray the story about how Strong Start | Healthy Start continues to serve and positively impact women, children, men, and families in Ingham County and how this model provides a substantial return on investment.  We believe in this initiative because we believe that every baby deserves a Healthy Start in life.

Regina Traylor, MSN, RN, CNS             
Director, Maternal Child Health Division            
Isaias Solis, MSW
Supervisor, Strong Start | Healthy Start
Elon Geffrard Appointed to National Committee
Healthy Start's Elon Geffrard Appointed to National Maternal Child Health Data Communication Partnership Project
LANSING, MI (June 24, 2016) - Strong Start | Healthy Start is pleased to announce that Elon Geffrard has been appointed to the national Maternal Child Health Data Translation Project. The Michigan Public Health Institute (MPHI) and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), who will be leading this team, recognize the need for effective data communications, and are invested in efforts to effectively communicate MCH data to diverse audiences. The Maternal Child Health Data Communication Partnership Project will communicate Michigan's available safe sleep data to community health workers/ home visitors to address infant mortality and infant mortality disparity in the state of Michigan.

Between 2005 and 2013, Michigan's infant mortality rate (IMR) for sleep-related deaths-including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), Accidental Suffocation or Strangulation in Bed (ASSB), and deaths of unknown cause- was 9.9 per 10,000 live births. This cause-specific mortality has been steadily increasing since 2008, making it the third leading cause of infant death in the state. The Maternal Child Health Data Communication Partnership Project's translation of sleep-related death data will provide valuable information to mothers in the home visiting context, highlight racial disparities in a theoretically-based, culturally-sensitive, risk reduction framework to raise awareness and increase the perceived importance of safe sleep practice among African-American mothers and infant caregivers in Michigan. The team will also develop an interactive educational tool that highlights the percentage of risk reduction at each point of safe sleep practice-equipping home visitors to highlight to mothers the impact of adopting individual measures of safe sleep.

Elon Geffrard is a Community Health Worker (CHW) with Strong Start | Healthy Start, Ingham County Health Department. She provides case management services to prenatal and postpartum women, and children 0-2, through the Healthy Start program. She also attends home visits with clients, working with them to promote healthy prenatal care, support healthy child growth and development, as well as help program participants navigate and access community services. Elon received her Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies in Health Cognate in Psychology from Michigan State University.

"Elon will undoubtedly be a strong asset to this national team and we are delighted that she has been selected to lend her expertise to this important safe sleep initiative," said Isaias Solis, Ingham County Health Department, Healthy Start Supervisor. "I am thrilled about her appointment to this project, and I look forward to supporting her efforts."
Greater Lansing Baby Fair 2016
Willow Tree Family Center, in partnership with ICHD, Healthy Start, Celebrate Successful 2016 Greater Lansing Baby Fair
Over 1,700 parents, soon-to-be parents, and community members in and around Lansing attended the Greater Lansing Baby Fair in April 2016, a free event that connects families to local resources. The event, hosted by the Willow Tree Family Center in partnership with the Ingham County Health Department, Healthy Start and nearly 20 local sponsors, was held at the Lansing Center on
Saturday, April 16, 2016.  More than 100 exhibitors were at the fair providing valuable information, resources, and items to local families.
"Part of our mission is to grow strong, empowered families," said Nicole Greiter, president of Willow Tree Family Center. "Being educated and informed sets the stage for families to make healthy, confident decisions. We also want to build community because peer support is paramount to parental success."

Exhibitors included Sparrow Health System, McLaren of Greater Lansing, Early On and Great Start, as well as local pediatricians, lactation consultants, midwives, doulas and pediatric dentists. Resources on a variety of topics from car seats to home safety to postpartum depression were available at the event. On-site screenings and support included lactation services from the Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition, and blood pressure checks for expectant mothers from the health department. For children in attendance, the Capital Area District Libraries promoted early literacy through story times, crafts and character visits.
"The prenatal period and the early childhood years are some of the most important in terms of cognitive, social, and physical development," said Linda S. Vail, Ingham County Health Officer. "Many health outcomes and disparities can be traced back to the early years, which is why it is critical to support young families. The baby fair was a great way for parents to connect with all the community has to offer."
The first 250 families received a swag bag filled with coupons, samples and free items. 

For more information about the Greater Lansing Baby Fair visit
Dads Matter Day at Lansing Lugnuts
Healthy Start Partners with Area Organizations to Host Second Annual Dads Matter Day at Lansing Lugnuts
Dads Matter hosted its second annual Dads Matter Day at the Lansing Lugnuts on June 18, 2016. This event, which was attended by 82 people, was organized for fathers and their families and served as a day to celebrate our great fathers in the community and to engage in a conversation of why Dads Matter. The event also hosted father-serving organizations in Mid-Michigan to be a part of the fellowship of fatherhood programs in effort to collaborate in future collaborative efforts.  The event was hosted in partnership with New Young Fathers, Stepping Up Together, WATCH Dogs, Strong Fathers, Lansing Housing Commission, Michigan Public Health Institute, Ingham Infant Mortality Coalition, South Side Community Coalition, Men Making A Difference, and Strength II Be.

Participating families received free admission to the Lansing Lugnuts game, listened to a keynote message delivered by Randall Hester from WATCH Dogs and Fathers for Life, and accessed health information. Dads also received on-site blood pressure screening.  "The purpose of the event is two-fold," said Linda S. Vail, Ingham County Health Officer. "First, fathers play a critical role in their children's lives. Dads' involvement has been shown to improve kids' health and well-being. Second, we want fathers to make their own health a priority. By forming healthy habits, dads reap many benefits and set a great example for their children."

Dads Matter because research shows that when children have involved, responsible, and committed fathers, they express better socio-emotional and academic functioning and grow up to lead happier, healthier lives. Research also demonstrates that father absence is strongly linked to poverty, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, abuse, suicide, substance and alcohol abuse, and a host of other issues. Read more.

The event coincided with Father's Day weekend and National Men's Health Week. This was the second annual Dads Matter Day. This event was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant #H49MC24118 (Ingham Healthy Start).  


For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact the Maternal Child Health Division at 517-887-4322.
Home Visiting Program
By The Numbers (June 2015 - May 2016)

 To view the complete dashboard, click here: Healthy Start Report (June 2015 - May 2016)


Healthy Start Dashboard was developed by the Michigan Public Health Institute, Ingham Healthy Start's Program Evaluation Team.


      Refer Someone Today!


For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact the Maternal Child Health Division at 517-887-4322

Home Visiting
Participant Spotlight: Ronesha Robinson
Since June 2015, Strong Start | Healthy Start services have been provided to over 600 mothers, children, and dads via home visits, community workshops, and support groups.  The need and demand for services is astounding and drives our team to continue to positively impact families in Ingham County. One of those family's story is highlighted below.

[By: Elon Geffrard, Community Health Worker]

Ronesha is a first time mom to 2 month old Mae'onna. When asked about her pregnancy and her journey to becoming a mother; Ronesha commented that Mae'onna was a child "prayed for" after experiencing two miscarriages, Ronesha was confident that she would be able to hold her baby when she reached her fifth month of pregnancy. But Ronesha's journey to motherhood was not without its challenges, at 7 ½ months pregnant she was diagnosed with preeclampsia and after 3 weeks in the hospital she was induced and gave birth to her daughter at 30 weeks and 2 days. "It was scary; my baby was only 2.9 lbs and was so small" Ronesha said. After 5 weeks in the hospital, Mae'onna was able to come home with her mom and Ronesha was able to experience. Now at two months Mae'onna is 6 lbs and doing well.

When asked about how she felt she was giving her baby the strongest and healthiest start in life Ronesha said the best thing she could do from the very beginning was to pump her breast milk for her baby. Ronesha commented that she has enjoyed being a part of the Strong Start Healthy Start program, "I love coming to the breastfeeding group, interacting with the other moms, getting out of the house and I look forward to it twice a month.

We celebrate Ronesha's motherhood journey, its families like hers that remind us that all babies deserve a strong and healthy start in life.

Baby Mae'onna and mom at 2 days old
Baby Mae'onna and mom at 2 months old

Robinson Family Community Health Worker
Elon Geffard

Refer someone today!

For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact the Maternal Child Health Division at 517-887-4322 or visit
Get Real About Breastfeeding Campaign
A'jai's Story: Making the Commitment
Despite, not having anyone else in my family breastfeed, breastfeeding was the way that I decided to feed my daughter. While I was pregnant with my daughter, my mind was already set on breastfeeding. I didn't even contemplate or consider formula.  I was really excited to breastfeed during my pregnancy, but after I had her breastfeeding was not what I imagined it would be. It was super rough in the beginning, and I had no idea that I would need education to feed my daughter. I thought it would come naturally because it IS natural, but actually doing it required someone to teach me.

The first few weeks I had to supplement with formula because my daughter and I really couldn't get the hang of it. She had a hard time latching, and I had decreased milk supply from supplementation.

Even though I was supplementing, I was determined to get to the point of exclusively breastfeeding. We worked on it every day at every feeding. I remember one time she was cluster feeding, and I literally spent the whole day feeding. We spent hours at home with her at the breast, and this happened for two days. In those 2 days, we didn't use formula at all! I remembered hearing that the more milk she took out the more I would make. So, when this growth spurt occurred, I knew this was the perfect time for her to take out as much milk as possible.

On the last day of cluster feeding, I remember the very first feeding where she was completely satisfied. She wasn't fussing, crying, and looking for more. She was calm and happy, and she looked up and smiled at me! It blew my mind! This was the first time I was able to fully satisfy her, and I just couldn't believe it. Each time I fed her she was still so happy, and so was I. Her reaction at the end of our feedings was so much different than they were when I didn't have enough milk, and I was ecstatic!

Ever since those two days when she was 1 month old, she has been exclusively breastfed. She is 3 months now, and I plan to continue breastfeeding her until she is 2 years old.

My advice for new moms is this: Never give up, even on your worst day!

To get help reaching your breastfeeding goals, CLICK HERE.

For additional information about the Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign, contact:
  • Regina Traylor, Director, Maternal Child Health Division, Ingham County Health Department
  • Tracie Bolton, Coordinator, Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Ingham County Health Department
  • Nicole Greiter, Executive Director, Willow Tree Family Center
  • Isaias Solis, Healthy Start Supervisor, Ingham County Health Department
For media inquires and interviews related to the Get Real About Breastfeeding campaign, contact:
  • Amanda Darche, Health Communications Specialist, Ingham County Health Department

Willow Tree Family Center

Capital Area Breastfeeding Coalition

Redhead Design Studio

Strong Start | Healthy Start

Expectant Parents Organization

Women, Infants, & Children (WIC)

For more information, visit

For more information about our Home Visiting Initiative, contact the Maternal Child Health Division at 517-887-4322 or visit
Dads Matter Initiative
Dads Matter Workshops Continue to Have An Impact in Community
Father's all across the globe play a very significant role in the growth and development of their children. There are many roles that a father plays when it comes to the entire family well-being. When the fatherhood initiative first began one of the main focuses was to find fathers that were not present in their children's lives and to encourage them to be apart. As the program is progressing, we are finding that there are more fathers present in their children' s lives than not, therefore the focus has shifted. 
The term "Dad's Matter" resonates well with the fathers we serve. The fathers that are part of our program enjoy all of the services they receive from Strong Start | Healthy Start. Fathers receive individual case management and have learned more about being a father from the National Fatherhood Initiative's 24/7 Dad® and Effective Black Parenting curricula with topic such as "What It Means to Be a Man" and "Pyramid of Success for Black Children." These topics facilitate a conversation, and challenge fathers to think beyond what they think a father is on a daily basis. 


To download the full July 2016 - December 2016 workshop schedule, click here.  

There are now healthy and fun activities at each workshop.  

For more information about our Dad's Matter Initiative, contact Jonathan Lawrence via e-mail at, by phone at 517-449-6046, or visit
Father Involvement in Systems of Care Training
Fatherhood Changes Everything
"The relationship is built by how you come across to the dads. At first, you want to spend 90% listening and 10% talking. Remember that you won't solve everything in a day or a week." -Barry McIntosh, Young Fathers of Santa Fe

Fathers' involvement in and influence on the health and development of their children have increased in a myriad of ways in the past 10 years and have been widely studied. The role of communities and systems in working with fathers has correspondingly increased in importance. 

Training Preview

This training provides a deeper perspective on the importance of father involvement, including ways to effectively engage father figures in your community.  The effects of father involvement on child outcomes and effective strategies to engage fathers are also discussed. Particular emphasis is placed on (1) fathers' involvement across childhood ages and (2) the influence of fathers' physical and mental health on their children. Implications and advice for all system providers to encourage and support father involvement are also outlined and discussed.

To register, visit
To download and print flyer, CLICK HERE

For more information about our Dad's Matter Initiative, contact Jonathan Lawrence via e-mail at, by phone at 517-449-6046, or visit
Health Education Initiative
Health Education Workshops Continue to Make Impact in Community
Strong Start | Healthy Start offers Health Education workshops throughout Greater Lansing. Currently there are four standing workshops that are open to the public. Workshops are held at:
  • Hildebrandt on the 1st Monday's from 4:00pm-5:00pm (3122 Turner Street, Lansing)
  • NEW LOCATION: Willow Tree Family Center on the 3rd Wednesday's from 5:00pm-6:00pm (3333 S. Pennsylvania Road, Lansing)
  • South Washington Apartments on the 4th Monday's from 4:00pm-5:00pm (3200 S. Washington Road, Lansing)
  • Mt. Vernon on the 4th Thursday's from 4:00pm-5:00pm (338 N. Waverly Road, Lansing)

We serve light food and refreshments, provide child activities through Lansing Parks and Recreation, transportation assistance, and offer door prizes. Each week is dedicated to one topic and one fund activity such as yoga, zumba, line dancing, etc. Our health education topics are expansive and include subjects like breastfeeding, budgeting 101, preventing HIV/STIs,and stress reduction, family planning, CPR training, and many more. Health Education workshops end with a referral option to our Community Health Workers for home visiting, the creation of peer support and new, healthier goals. 

To download the full July 2016 - December 2016 workshop schedule, click here.

There are now healthy and fun activities at each workshop.  

For more information about our Health Education Initiative, contact Dana Watson via e-mail at, by phone at 517-512-3074, or visit
Fetal & Infant Mortality Review Initiative
FIMR Officially Launches the Community Review Team (CRT)
In June, 2016, the Ingham County Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Board completed its first full quarter of examining fetal and infant deaths in the community. Two maternal interviews provided the board a rare opportunity to hear from consumers of the perinatal health system. The interview gives families a voice to reveal important feedback about health equity and disparities that exist in the community. In addition, the information provides insight on whether or not quality services and resources are available. As a result of reviewing the medical record data and maternal interview comments, the FIMR Board identifies barriers to care and tends in service delivery and prioritizes the issues into recommendations.  

Prioritization of the major issues will take place in the month of July: Unsafe sleep and feeding practices, mental health concerns, lack of stable transportation, substance use among caregivers, postpartum isolation and support, maternal obesity and limited preconception care, and poor dental care. A policy brief containing recommendations for the top priority issues will be presented to the Ingham County Infant Mortality Coalition in August. The presence of a FIMR board has been shown to drastically improve a county's operation of public health functions as well as improve systems of perinatal care. 

FIMR members include representatives from agencies from various sectors in the community, which include the Ingham County Health Department, Shared Pregnancy, Sparrow Hospital, Alliance OB/GYN, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, League of Women Voters, Michigan State University College of Nursing and Human Medicine, Expectant Parents Organization, McLaren Greater Lansing, Community Mental Health of CEI, Sparrow Medical Group OB/GYN, Sparrow NICU, and others.

For more information about the Fetal and Infant Mortality initiative, visit

For more information about our Fetal and Infant Mortality Review Initiative, contact Alysia Osoff, RN, MSN, CEN via e-mail at or by phone at 517-582-8003. 
CAN: Infant Mortality Coalition
Infant Mortality Coalition Moves Toward Establishing Infant Mortality Reduction Action Plan
Over the last several months, IMC Co-Chairs Regina Traylor (Ingham County Health Department-ICHD) and Mary Machowicz (Expectant Parents Organization) have been meeting with Jessica Yorko, Health Equity and Social Justice (HESJ) Coordinator for ICHD to discuss coalition capacity building through facilitated dialogue and other strategies.
The primary concern expressed by the Co-Chairs was the desire to create an effective work plan for 2016 that addresses:
  • Narrowing gaps in health outcomes between different groups, particularly race, income or other groups.
  • Succession planning/ leadership development for future chairs/co-chairs and the need for rotational leadership in the coalition.
  • Building coalition members understanding of health disparities to identify strategies to improve  services that reduce disparities/inequities and factors that contribute to infant mortality
  • One activity of the IMC could include a larger fall 2016 event to engage additional community stakeholders in the IMC and the development of IMC goals and objectives.
The Infant Mortality Coalition is now undergoing a validation session where they will narrow down the goal, objectives, and strategies aimed at reducing infant mortality in our local community.  A concrete action plan will be presented to the community-at-large in the Fall. 

For more information about the Infant Mortality Coalition, visit

For more information about our Community Action Network/Infant Mortality Coalition, contact Na'imah Muhammad via e-mail at, by phone at 517-420-5421, or visit
July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month
"Stigma Free"
In 2008, the U.S. House of Representatives proclaimed July as Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Campbell was a champion for mental health education and support among individuals of diverse communities. A leading African American author, she co-founded NAMI Urban Los Angeles and received NAMI's 2003 Outstanding Media Award for Literature. She died in 2006.

"It's not shameful to have a mental illness. Get treatment. Recovery is possible." -Bebe Moore Campbell

Bebe Moore Campbell believed that the United States needed a national campaign to destigmatize mental illness, especially one targeted toward African Americans. NAMI's stigmafree campaign honors that belief.

 To learn more about National National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month or to learn about events in your local community visit the  National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Upcoming Events
For a complete listing of upcoming events, visit: 

We attempt to update our online calendar as frequently as possible.  If you have any events that you would like listed, please send them via e-mail at 
Health Education Workshops
1st Monday's of the Month 
4:00PM - 5:00PM
Hildebrandt Park, Community Room
3122 Turner Street, Lansing, MI

3rd Wednesday's of the Month  
5:00PM - 6:00PM
Willow Tree Family Center
3333 South Pennsylvania Road, Lansing, MI

4th Monday's of the Month
4:00PM - 5:00PM
South Washington Park, Community Room
3200 South Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI

4th Thursday's of the Month  

4:00PM - 5:00PM
Mt. Vernon Park, Community Room
338 North Waverly Road, Lansing, MI

We offer fun, informative, interactive, and evidence-based Health Education workshops & activities with our Health Educator using Partners for A Healthy Baby curriculum.  Come and learn how to keep a healthy pregnancy and learn information that you can use once your baby is born! Meet other families and build a support system in the process. 

For more information and to register, contact Dana Watson at 517-512-3074. 
Dads Matter Workshops
2nd Wednesday's of the Month
3:00PM - 4:00PM
South Washington Park, Community Room
3200 South Washington Avenue, Lansing, MI

4th Saturday's of the Month
11:00AM - 12:00PM
Tabernacle of David Church
12645 West Holmes Road, Lansing, MI

Evidence-based workshops using 24/7 Dads ® and Effective Black Parenting ® curricula, meaning that these materials have already been tested and proven effective in helping fathers become better fathers, couples become better partners, and single fathers become better partners in a future relationship.

For more information and to register, contact Jonathan Lawrence at 517-449-6046. 
Black Breastfeeding Sisterhood
1st and 3rd Monday's of the Month
3:00PM - 5:00PM
Willow Tree Family Center
3333 Pennsylvania Avenue, Lansing, MI

Join us along with Willow Tree Family Center for our mother-led breastfeeding support group held twice monthly. Share your experiences and learn from other mothers in a welcoming and supportive community setting. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers will enjoy fellowship, sisterhood and breastfeeding support. Mothers are encouraged to bring their babies, older children, and their supportive partners. FREE SNACKS PROVIDED & BREASTFEEDING SUPPLIES!

Meet with Breastfeeding Peer Counselors to get advise on breastfeeding concerns and to discuss topics such as milk storage, social barriers, and incorporating breastfeeding into your lifestyle.

For more information and to register, contact Na'imah Muhammad at 517-420-5421. 
Infant Mortality Coalition Meeting
4th Thursday of the Month
1:30PM - 3:30PM

Atrium Conference Room, Ingham County Human Services Building
5303 S. Cedar Street, Lansing, MI

The Infant Mortality Coalition attempts to address infant health disparities and ultimately reduce inequities in infant mortality in Ingham County. The overarching goal of the initiative is to keep mothers and infants alive and well before, during and after birth.  The Infant Mortality Coalition meets on the 4th Thursday of every month, from 1:30-3:30pm at the Ingham County Health Department, 5303 S Cedar in Lansing.

For more information and to register, click here.
Capital Area Baby Cafe
Every Thursday
1:30PM and 3:00PM
Ingham County Health Department
WIC Informational Mall
5303 S. Cedar St., Lansing, MI

For moms who are breastfeeding or thinking about breastfeeding.  Babies, young children, and mom's support person are welcome.  Light refreshments served.  Breast pumps available for loan.

For more information, call the Expectant Parents Organization at 517-331-7365.
Legislative Updates
Healthy Start Reauthorization Act Introduced in 114th Congress
For every 1,000 live births, nearly six babies will not live to see their first birthday. While the national infant mortality rate has declined in recent years, there is still progress to be made. A racial disparity in infant mortality rates exists in every U.S. state and territory, with black infants more than twice as likely to die as white infants. Babies born to low-income women are less likely to survive than babies in higher-income households. 

The long-term medical and social services associated with low birthweight infants and children born premature cost taxpayers $26.2 billion per year, with first-year expenses for the smallest surviving babies averaging $273,900. These exorbitant costs are borne not only by families, but also by businesses. Employers pay 12 times more in health care costs for babies born with complications than those born without. Read More
Update on Child Passenger Safety Seat Bill
House Bill 5689 sponsored by Rep. Laura Cox (R-Livonia), was reported from the House Families, Children and Seniors Committee on June 1 and is expected to come up for a vote in the House this fall. The bill updates Michigan's child safety seat law to be more aligned with the recommendations from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the National Highway Traffic Safety Commission than current statute. 

The committee added to the original bill to clarify that in the event of a violation written under the statute a court would be allowed to waive any civil fines if the offender supplies evidence they have received education from a certified child passenger safety technician. This new language is an addition to the existing requirement of proof of purchase of the proper child seating system before the appearance date listed on their citation. We are pleased with the changes and look forward to working throughout the summer to educate legislators about the bill to maintain momentum for the fall.
Read More
Maternal Death Reporting Bill Passes House
HB 4235, requiring reporting of maternal deaths in the state, easily passed the House late last week on a vote of 103-5.  HB 4235, sponsored by Rep. George Darany (D-Dearborn), would require that all maternal deaths - those during pregnancy or within one year of a pregnancy - be reported to allow for a review of the circumstances of the death.

MCMCH Executive Board member Cheryl Gibson Fountain MD, MCMCH Executive Director Amy Zaagman and others previously testified before the committee that, as maternal death rates rise in Michigan and nationally, the requirements in the bill would help health officials better understand the underlying causes and factors and better target prevention efforts.  The bill now moves to the Senate, where it has been referred to the Health Policy Committee. 
Read More
Creating Opportunities for Families: A Two-Generation Approach
For many American families, every day is a juggling act involving work, child care, school and conflicting schedules. But for low-income families, the balls are more likely to fall, and the consequences can be dire when they do. A lack of reliable child care can mean fewer work hours or even a lost job. Weekly or daily shift changes require repeatedly stitching together a patchwork of care. Just getting to work is tough without dependable transportation. And for children in these families, early educational opportunities and extracurricular activities tend to be unaffordable luxuries as parents stretch pennies to keep the lights on.

Nearly half of the nation's families with young children struggle to make ends meet. A new KIDS COUNT policy report makes the case for creating opportunity for families by addressing the needs of parents and their children simultaneously. Creating Opportunity for Families: A Two-Generation Approach describes a new approach to reducing poverty, which calls for connecting low-income families with early childhood education, job training and other tools to achieve financial stability and break the cycle of poverty - and recommends ways to help equip parents and children with what they need to thrive. Read More
2016-2019 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, State of Michigan
All babies should be born healthy, thrive in supportive communities, and have the opportunity to live healthy and productive lives. In 2012, the State of Michigan released the 2012-2015 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan in response to persistently high infant mortality rates and significant disparities in birth outcomes. Moving forward, Michigan pledges its continued commitment to improving birth outcomes with the release of this 2016-2019 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan. This document, also referred to as the Plan, provides background information about the planning process, building on the 2012- 2015 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan, and incorporating successes and lessons learned from its implementation over the past three years. 

The Plan describes progress to date, and it provides a roadmap for ongoing improvement in birth outcomes. The accomplishments and activities of the 2012-2015 Plan are described in detail in this document, as are descriptions of existing statewide projects that support healthy mothers and babies. The Plan goals and strategies are supported by new organizational structures to assure effective implementation. Read More