The organization is a division of the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, a non-profit committed to advocating for health parity in the black community through promoting eduction and change in health policy.
It’s reported that the organization will receive $4.3 million over five years from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for maternal and child health among Latinos in Kent County through its program, Familias Fuertes y Saludables.
In addition, $4.9 million will be provided via a five-year grant from the Health Resources Administration to increase the organization’s ability to serve African American parents and their children.
According to the program description, Strong Beginnings was created as a resource for health care and health education for families of color. It’s focus is to eliminate the vast difference in infant death and low birth weight between African Americans and Whites.
In Michigan 14 out of every 1000 African American babies die after their first birthday compared to five out of every 1000 Caucasian babies, as reported in the 2012 Infant Mortality Reduction Plan.
Michigan Live says, that since the organization began in 2005, its been credited with helping to reduce the African American infant mortality rate by 32 percent in the past decade but despite its efforts racial disparities still exist.
In effort to combat these jarring statistics, organization members reach out to pregnant women, and their partners through home visits and other forms of outreach to ensure that women begin prenatal care during the first three months of pregnancy and have regular care throughout pregnancy and after delivery.
“Strong Beginnings will help families navigate community services, addressing social determinants that might be barriers, and provide learning opportunities for families,” said Veronica Ouintino, the program manager at Family Futures, to Michigan Live.
The health care team also provides, case management, mental health services and a fatherhood program. The agencies backing Strong Beginnings community program include, Spectrum Health’s Healthier Communities program, Arbor Circle, Breton Health Center, Cherry Health, Family Futures, the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute, the Healthy Kent Infant Health Team, the Kent County Health Department and the Salvation Army Booth Clinic.
To learn more about Strong beginnings or to donate to the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute visit here.