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Welcome to Region 8

Pregnant belly

Who we are

We are community members, parents, educators, representatives from both local and state public health agencies, and health care workers including physicians, nurses, community health workers, doulas, lactation consultants, mental health professionals, social workers, and many others. Our Regional Perinatal Quality Collaborative, aka "Region 8" or "SWMPQIC", is one of Michigan's prosperity regions, which includes Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, and Van Buren counties. We operate with the support and guidance of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and consultants from Michigan Public Health Institute.

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Our “Why”

…because even in the year 2023, there are STILL disparities in our communities that are disproportionally affecting birthing people and babies of color, folks who are low income, and folks who live in certain zip codes. In Region 8, the infant mortality rate for Black infants is almost twice the rate of their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. Infant mortality rate based on insurance coverage for those with private insurance, vs. those with Medicaid is almost equally as troubling. Maternal mortality rates follow this trend also. Between 2015-2019, Black birthing people experienced 1.6 times greater mortality rates than White birthing people in Region 8.

Many of these disparities are the result of systemic and structural racism, with broad, multi-faceted, upstream roots. This is simply unacceptable to us. Through our work, we strive to ensure that ALL families have access to resources, information, connections, and effective and appropriate care in order to keep themselves and their babies healthy.

To get a full scope of the issues facing birthing people and babies in Region 8, please see the full data report, compiled by the MDHHS Epidemiology team, by clicking the box below.

So what are we doing about it?

We are in the process of finalizing a new work plan for our upcoming 2024 fiscal year, which will begin in October 2023. For the upcoming year, our work will focus on:

  • Investigating the needs, gaps, and barriers experienced by birthing persons in our communities

  • Increasing community and provider awareness and familiarity with existing regional resources

  • Continuing to build a representative council of engaged partners that uplifts marginalized voices

**Once the work plan is finalized, it will be posted here!**

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