The Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families, with continued support from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, is pleased to announce that it will continue and enhance its work in Southeastern Wisconsin to improve birth outcomes for African American families.  

The Lifecourse Initiative is expanding to include a new partnership with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The Lifecourse Initiative is using a new grant totaling $970,000 from the Wisconsin Partnership Program to build the strategic initiative’s infrastructure, pilot community capacity-building strategies, and increase awareness of strategies to reduce black-white disparities in birth outcomes for African American women, with a priority area of chronic stress.  The work will take place over the next 18 months.

Gina Green-Harris
Gina Green-Harris

The Initiative continues to be led by Gina Green-Harris, MBA, director of the Lifecourse Initiative, and brings the new addition of Sheri Johnson, PhD, director of the Population Health Institute at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health, who serves as the academic partner.

Says Green-Harris, “We look forward to working together with the Population Health Institute to use innovative, community-supported, evidence-informed strategies, with the goal of improving community conditions so that African American women and their families have healthy birth outcomes.”

The Lifecourse Initiative, the Wisconsin Partnership Program, and the UW School of Medicine and Public Health have a long-standing commitment to improving the health of African American families in Wisconsin, specifically addressing African American infant mortality and birth outcome disparities in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Racine counties — the three largest counties in Wisconsin with the highest rates of African American infant mortality.

Over the past 18 months, the Lifecourse Initiative gathered input from key stakeholders to help guide its direction and growth for the future. Says Green-Harris, “African American men and women of reproductive age, including community residents, health and social service professionals, and community members with a vested interest, must be actively involved from the inception of any community effort to reduce infant mortality. We intend to attain that goal with the implementation of a new LIHF Strategic Board.”

Sheri Johnson
Sheri Johnson

The Lifecourse work will be enhanced through the new academic partnership with the UW Population Health Institute. Dr. Johnson says, “Through this new partnership, we are able to bring the full depth and breadth of the Institute to support the Lifecourse Initiative goals. Our team can help translate research for policy and practice, as well as assist with community capacity-building and leadership development and program evaluation.”

The Lifecourse Initiative will be hosting community conversations in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha. Further information will be provided. 

The Lifecourse Initiative for Healthy Families was established in 2009 by the UW School of Medicine and Public Health through the Wisconsin Partnership Program. In addition to this initiative, the Wisconsin Partnership Program supports research and community projects aimed at improving maternal and child health outcomes for African Americans. Recent investments focus on establishing African American health workers for high need neighborhoods, implementing prenatal care models in African American communities and supporting African American doulas. The Lifecourse Initiative will be exploring how it can further its work through partnerships in Madison and Dane County as well.

The Wisconsin Partnership Program was established at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health in 2004, through an endowment gift from Blue Cross Blue Shield United of Wisconsin’s conversion to a stock insurance corporation. To date, the Wisconsin Partnership Program has awarded more than 480 research, education and community partnership grants toward improving the health of the people of Wisconsin.