Initiative to combat city's infant mortality crisis to be unveiled Monday

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, along with BMO Harris Bank and United Way of Greater Milwaukee are set to announce a new initiative Monday, September 10th to combat the city's infant mortality crisis.

In Milwaukee, the black-to-white infant mortality gap is among the highest in the nation. In 2011, there were 100 infant deaths in the City of Milwaukee. Many of these deaths were preventable.

Monday's announcement is set for 10:00 a.m.

Back in June, Mayor Barrett andthe City of Milwaukee Health Department hosted the "Third Annual Infant Mortality Summit."

This year’s theme was “Changing the Social Determinants of Health.” Previous years’ events have focused on unsafe sleeping environments and premature births, the most preventable and most prevalent causes of infant death, respectively.

“Changing the Social Determinants of Health” explored the connections between social and economic factors such as jobs and early childhood education, and how they affect birth outcomes.

Milwaukee's infant mortality rate measures the number of deaths of children under one year of age per every one-thousand births.

"Right now, we're at 10.2 overall. That's not good, but we're at 14.5 for African Americans, per thousand," Milwaukee Health Commissioner Bevan Baker said.

Baker said the racial disparity represents an area of great concern to city leaders and one of many that are included on Wednesday's work list.

"This is about finding solutions, finding answers and bringing thought leaders together," Baker said.

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