Infant mortality rates are an important public health indicator for assessing and comparing the health and well-being of populations. Although the overall infant mortality rates in New Haven have declined since the 1980s (thanks in large part to the work of a Special Commission and its successor New Haven Healthy Start), there are still marked disparities between the mortality rates for white and non-white infants.
Black and Hispanic women in New Haven have worse health outcomes overall than New Haven's White women, particularly on indicators of maternal health, according to the Greater New Haven Community Index 2013. New Haven’s Black women have the highest rates of infant mortality and babies born at low birth weight, and Black and Hispanic women in the city and are less likely than White women to have adequate prenatal care. These disparities mirror State and National rates.
Many factors play a role in fueling maternal health disparities, including: poverty unemployment, domestic violence, higher teenage birth rates, lower education levels and higher levels of mental health needs as a consequence of stressful life circumstances. Read more...
Our Leadership Strategy
The Community Foundation has made the availability and accessibility of prenatal health care a priority through its New Haven Healthy Start Program and encourages the community to support organizations that educate young families on how to ensure the health and well-being of their infants both before and after delivery.
New Haven Healthy Start began as an outgrowth of the work of the Commission on Child and Infant Health, which was convened by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in 1985. The Commission was formed to address the high infant mortality and morbidity rates in New Haven and was a collaboration between health officials, community leaders and child care advocates. Its work provided the base for The Community Foundation’s application for federal funding for a Healthy Start program in New Haven. The first Federal grant was received in 1997, launching New Haven Healthy Start. Since then, it has received five federal grants to provide a continuum of improvements to a fragmented maternal and child healthcare system using a care coordination model. The model takes a comprehensive approach to child and family healthcare and consists of many components.
The program is run through a large network of State-wide and local partners, including: Connecticut’s Department of Public Health, The New Haven Health Department, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Hospital of St. Raphael, Hill Health Center, Fair Haven Community Health Center, New Haven Family Alliance (Male Involvement Network), and Life Haven Inc.