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Kalamazoo’s babies of color DIE 4x MORE than white babies

About Us

Cradle Kalamazoo, is a multi-agency community initiative that aims to identify and implement evidence-based and holistic interventions to reduce infant death and promote respect for families, women, and their children. Cradle Kalamazoo’s scope has been maternal-infant health, as pregnant women have been a priority focus from our inception. Our strategies are data-driven from our Fetal Infant Mortality Review Team (FIRM) to create best practice recommendations that are specific to the needs of our community.

Cradle consists of 30+ Community Partners that are committed to improving birth outcomes by creating zero disparities in infant mortality between Black and White babies born in Kalamazoo. Our goal is to report an overall infant mortality rate of less than 3.0 per 1,000 live births in Kalamazoo.

Cradle Kalamazoo follows a collective impact strategy that progresses from collaborative planning and capacity building to target community actions and intervention to community system changes. Launched in 2014, Cradle Kalamazoo, previously know as Kalamazoo infant Mortality initiative Community Action (KIMCAI), centers its work on a public health model that recognizes people live in a social and environmental context that affects their health. A combination of distal (structural, political, and economic) factors and more proximate (community, organizational, family, and individual) contribute individually and together to explain the observed phenomenon of racial disparities in infant and maternal mortality. As such, work toward overcoming these factors must include organizations that touch on these varying distal and proximate factors.

Cradle Kalamazoo is committed to improving birth outcomes in our Community through deliberate and intensive communitywide action, which combines grassroots engagement, a focus on Equity and Health Equity, evidence and practice-based programs, targeted service delivery, institutional coordination, and measured accountability.

The Bronson Health Foundation (BHF), a nonprofit, 501 (c)(3) organization, connects the generosity of individuals and organizations with Bronson Healthcare to support its healing mission. BHF is the fiduciary for the Cradle Kalamazoo collaboration. As such, BHF acknowledges and receipts all grants and philanthropy for Cradle Kalamazoo with rare exceptions when the funder of a grant or an individual philanthropist requires or insists their funds go directly to a different organization.


Cradle Kalamazoo’s goal is to reduce infant death and promote respect for families, women and their children. We plan on doing this by:

  1. Ensuring health equity of programs, policies, and providers
  2. Building a perinatal home visitation network
  3. Promoting and educating about infant safe-sleep programs
  4. Providing reproductive health education and support
Through continuous data collection and evaluation of key indicators by Cradle Kalamazoo partners, together we strive to identify and assist at risk pregnancies and infants in Kalamazoo County. This information will guide us in updating and evolving programs to better serve our community.

Here is some of the research Cradle Kalamazoo is using to support our work —

Cathy Kothari, PhD with the support of Kalamazoo County Healthy Babies Healthy Start, performed an Infant Mortality Trend Analysis. In this study, Dr. Kothari found:

  • In Kalamazoo, babies of color are 4x more likely to die before their first birthday than their white neighbors.
  • Babies of color are affected across income. Babies of color from higher income families are twice as likely to die before their first birthday than their lower income white neighbors.
  • Although infant mortality is high among all infants of color, the reasons infants die varies based on their family’s income. Many lower-income infants of color are dying from sleep-related causes and higher income infants of color are dying largely due to prematurity.
  • The race of the infant affects infant mortality risk more than their family’s socioeconomic status.
  • Most infant deaths are preventable. Through specialized interventions, racial disparities in infant death can be reduced and eventually eliminated.


Cradle Kalamazoo Partners
Cradle Kalamazoo would not have been possible without the dedication and support of many individuals and the following organizations

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