Kent County Health Department

Contact Information

Website: http://www.accesskent.com/Health/health_department.htm
Contact Person: Teresa Branson
Contact Info: teresa.branson@kentcountymi.gov

History

In 2005, the Kent County Health Department received a grant from the Michigan Department of Community Health to support an infant mortality coalition, a community action plan to reduce infant mortality for African Americans in particular, and to implement an evidence-based Interconception Care (IC) Program.

Organizational Partners

Partners include: Strong Beginnings Federal Healthy Start; Healthy Kent 2020; Spectrum Health; Cherry Street Health Services; Planned Parenthood of West and Northern Michigan; Woodrick Diversity Learning Center, and Baxter Wholistic Health Center.

Activities & Objectives

The Kent County Health Department (KCHD) works towards community and systems change to promote cultural competence among healthcare providers, addresses a Life Course Perspective that focuses on improved maternal health and birth outcomes, recognize and address the linkage between racism and the disparity in infant mortality, and conduct asset mapping to identify community assets and gaps in service for high-risk IC clients to determine new programs or interventions that address health inequities.

Specific activities to achieve the above objectives include the development and implementation of Cultural Competency Curriculum for Health Care Professions; the development of tool kits for consumers and providers on responding to racism; town hall meetings that investigate pregnancy prevention, access to quality care that addresses social determinants, and racism; Healthy Kent 2020 Infant Health Implementation Team (IHIT), which works at the systems level on breastfeeding, perinatal care, fatherhood, safe sleep and transportation; and the Responding to Racism Action Team.

These activities have resulted in the incorporation of delivery of Interconnection Care into the Maternal Infant Health Program (MIHP) and staff trainings for IC providers, staff and partners on Creating Inclusive Healthcare Environments.

Kent County has also utilized two-day Health Equity and Social Justice Dialogue trainings for all KCHD staff and community partners, created Health Equity Program Standards, and developed a Community Plan of Action to Achieve Health Equity in Kent County.