Skip to Content
Faculty and Staff Resources

Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families

Faculty Director

Deborah Ehrenthal

Deborah Ehrenthal, MD, MPH
UW School of Medicine and Public Health

Regional Program Office Director

Gina Green-Harris

Gina Green-Harris
UW School of Medicine and Public Health

More Information

Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families brochure (pdf)

Community Action Plan Summaries (pdf)




Grants Awarded



Contact Information

Wisconsin Partnership Program
(608) 265-8215

The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health seeks to reduce health disparities and improve the quality of life for all state residents. The Partnership Program’s Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families (LIHF) addresses one of the most perplexing disparities in Wisconsin – infant mortality.


This innovative community-academic collaboration is designed to improve local conditions that lead to healthier birth outcomes among African American families in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine. These three cities in southeastern Wisconsin account for 85 percent of African American births in the state.


Deborah Ehrenthal, MD, MPH, associate professor at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, is the project’s faculty director. Gina Green-Harris, MBA, directs the LIHF Regional Program Office.


Kenosha Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families


An African American baby born in Kenosha, Milwaukee or Racine is almost three times more likely to die before his or her first birthday than a white infant. To ensure that African American infants survive and thrive in these cities, community residents, community leaders, organizations, agencies and other professionals have joined forces to establish the Kenosha, Racine and Milwaukee LIHF Collaboratives.


Each LIHF Collaborative has developed a community action plan which guides its efforts to improve birth outcomes in its respective community. The plans feature guiding principles, priorities and recommended approaches focused on each community’s specific needs and issues of concern related to infant mortality including:

  • Improving health care for African American women
  • Supporting father involvement with children and families
  • Increasing family-sustaining jobs
  • Addressing stress and mental health

Additional LIHF project grants in these communities have also focused on improving health care, increasing family and community support and improving community conditions to positively impact birth outcomes.


The Wisconsin Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) guides the initiative’s surveillance and evaluation efforts. LIHF analyzes and moves data to action to help stakeholders better understand factors related to disparities in birth outcomes and inform strategies to address them.


LIHF also builds capacity for research and training in maternal and child health and health disparities at UW-Madison. Dr. Ehrenthal promotes training opportunities and educational collaborations for medical students, graduate students, and residents to conduct clinical, epidemiological, and community-based research in these areas. 


“Infant mortality rates are a powerful reflection of the health of a community,” said Ehrenthal. “Poverty, race, stress and environmental factors are a few of the many determinants that impact the health of a mother and her child.”


To learn more about the LIHF initiative, please visit their website.



Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families

Last updated: 02/20/2017
Website Feedback
Copyright © 2017 University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health
Use of this site signifies your agreement to the terms and conditions