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Pregnancy Checkup


Who we are

We are a collective of folks representing various sectors throughout Southwest Michigan, with the goal of improving maternal and infant health outcomes, by addressing disparities throughout the region. We are community members, parents, health workers (including physicians, nurses, community health workers, doulas, IBCLCs, mental health professionals, social workers, etc.), educators, representatives from local and state public health agencies, any many others. Our Regional Perinatal Quality Collaborative, aka “Region 8”, 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 fact, in Region 8, the infant mortality rate for Black infants is 12.8/1000 live births, while it is 7.4/1000 live birth for their white, non-Hispanic counterparts. This trend is similar when looking at the infant mortality rate based on insurance coverage (5.6/1000 live births for those with private insurance, vs. 7.4/1000 live births for those with Medicaid). 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. The facts could go on. But to put it plainly… we’ve got some work to do. 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.


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.

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! Please stay tuned and be sure to join us at our Quarterly Collaborative Meeting on September 19th, 2023 to get a full explanation and review of the workplan. Register for that meeting HERE **

We’d love to collaborate with you!

Get in touch so we can start working together. Everyone’s got something to contribute to this work!

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