Category Archives: Environment

Poverty and Resources

By Ramya Dronamraju

Black infant mortality rates are dangerously high in the Kalamazoo Country area. These Black infant mortality rates are correlated to the poverty in the Kalamazoo county area. 85% of Black women live in poverty in Kalamazoo. Factors affecting these rates include poverty and access to resources that are needed to raise a baby. Those living in difficult financial situations may not have access to important resources- materially and with regards to health care. This could potentially worsen the health of mothers and the babies in their care. This paper explores the access to resources mothers may or may not have in Kalamazoo while in situations of poverty and the disconnect in communication between professionals, community members and mothers. Continue reading Poverty and Resources

Neighborhood and Community

By Annalise Robinson

In Kalamazoo, black babies are dying at a 4.5 times higher rate than white infants. When we ask the question, “ Why are black babies dying at a higher rate than white?” we must first note that 85 percent of black women giving birth in Kalamazoo County live in poverty. We must then examine the environments in which these mothers and infants reside. Because of the constraints of the segregated neighborhoods, access to adequate health care before, during, and after pregnancies is rare for black mothers in Kalamazoo. Many health and social work professionals in Kalamazoo have named several resources that are available to mothers, but these abundant resources in greater Kalamazoo are not reaching certain communities and neighborhoods for a number of reasons; the inability to access transportation, inadequate family care, and lack of a shared support system of the entire community in the greater Kalamazoo community, to only scratch the surface. Continue reading Neighborhood and Community

Family Structure: How Does it Impact Black Infant Mortality?

By Courtney Wise

“Black babies died at a 4.5 times higher rate than white infants in Kalamazoo County over the last three years, up from 2 to 3 times higher rate about 20 years ago” (Mcmichael, 2015). How did this happen? Why does this rate keep on rising? In this section, the aspects of family structure and its impact on black infant mortality will be explored. This section includes structural violence, access to health care, single motherhood, poverty and the prison-industrial complex. Continue reading Family Structure: How Does it Impact Black Infant Mortality?

Domestic Violence as a Contributor in Infant Mortality

By Camryn Romph

The racial disparity of infant mortality in Kalamazoo, Michigan has recently come to the community’s attention. Statistically speaking, black babies are currently 4.5 times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies are. In a class project, focus groups were conducted to identify certain themes that tie together many different individual cases of infant mortality. One of these themes, domestic violence, was a common factor in many of the unique stories and experiences of both women who have been affected by infant mortality, as well as Kalamazoo community health care professionals. Many of the participants, as well as other studies, suggest that there is also a racial disparity that shows the black population may also be more likely to experience domestic violence. Domestic violence in itself creates a myriad of complications and consequences, both indirect and direct, which can impact the health of a mother and an infant and, in turn, may influence the mortality of an infant. This paper seeks to contextualize domestic violence and the diverse roles and contributions it has on the racial disparity of infant mortality in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Continue reading Domestic Violence as a Contributor in Infant Mortality