Froedtert Hospital, the academic medical center of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, and Penfield Children’s Center, a Milwaukee-based nonprofit organization dedicated to early intervention services, are proud to be selected as a grant recipients from The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health. The grant, aimed at improving maternal and infant health in Wisconsin, signals a significant step toward addressing Wisconsin’s maternal and infant health disparities.
“All funded grants were chosen through a rigorous multi-step review process incorporating a diverse governance committee of experts from across the state,” said Dr. Amy Kind, associate dean for social health sciences and programs, UW School of Medicine and Public Health. “We are excited to see the impact of this initiative by Froedtert Hospital in collaboration with Penfield Children’s Center, as it has strong potential to enact lasting change while addressing important health disparities in Wisconsin.”
Wisconsin’s maternal mortality rate in 2018 was at 14.3 per 100,000 births, a 100% increase from 2000 (Wisconsin Perinatal Periods of Risk Report, 2023). The United States population data reports three-to-four times higher maternal mortality and two times higher infant mortality in Black individuals. Between 2017-2021 Milwaukee County experienced 163 maternal deaths per 100,000 Black births compared to 115 maternal deaths per 100,000 white births (Pregnancy-Associated Mortality Review).
Froedtert Hospital and Penfield Children’s Center will launch the “Growing Together: Milwaukee-based Group Pregnancy Care” initiative in early 2024. The initiative will combine Group Pregnancy Care hosted at Penfield’s Near West Side campus with access to Froedtert’s Maternal Mobile Clinic. With the use of the Maternal Mobile Clinic, Froedtert Hospital will provide access to routine perinatal health screening and checkups. Penfield will leverage its role as a trusted community partner for families in the Near West Side community to facilitate pregnancy group sessions; engage community partners in education; and help participants access other supportive services that contribute to a healthy pregnancy and parenting.
“At Froedtert Hospital, we are dedicated to improving the health and well-being of moms and babies. We understand the unique challenges that come with limited access to health care services, and that’s why we’re bringing greater access, convenience and compassionate care into local neighborhoods,” said Eric Conley, executive vice president of Froedtert Health and president of Froedtert Hospital.
This strategic move brings essential healthcare services to underserved Milwaukee communities, aiming to reduce racial disparities in maternal and neonatal health. The “Growing Together” initiative will primarily serve Penfield’s current client population and residents of Milwaukee’s Near West Side community, with high percentages of Black populations (NWS–49%; Penfield–60%).
“Penfield Children’s Center is excited to partner with Froedtert Hospital to deliver this innovative model of care, states Polina Makievsky, President and CEO of Penfield Children’s Center. “This initiative represents Penfield’s longstanding commitment to not only early interventions, but moving further upstream to have greater impact in the lives of children and families. By working with women throughout their pregnancy, not only can we support positive health outcomes for the parent, but we hope to see a reduction in preterm births and babies born at low birth rates which are contributors to childhood disability and developmental delays.”
Froedtert Hospital and Penfield Children’s Center are grateful for the support of The University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in this transformative initiative. Together, they are committed to making a positive impact on the maternal and infant health outcomes in Milwaukee’s communities.
About Penfield Children’s Center: As a leader in child development, Penfield Children’s Center helps children with and without disabilities reach their full potential by providing early education, health and wellness services, and family programs. To learn more visit www.penfieldchildren.org
About Froedtert Hospital: Froedtert Hospital, the academic medical center of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, has 702 beds and is a leading referral resource for advanced medical care. Froedtert Hospital also operates the region’s only adult Level I Trauma Center. The primary adult teaching affiliate of MCW, Froedtert Hospital is a major training facility for more than 1,000 medical, nursing and health technical students annually. It is also a respected research center, participating in some 2,000 research studies, including clinical trials, every year. Froedtert Hospital is located on the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center campus. Campus partners are: Children’s Wisconsin, Curative Care Network, MCW, Milwaukee County Behavioral Health Division and Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin. For more information, visit froedtert.com.