Blanket of Love Program Seeks to Reduce African American Infant Mortality Rate

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Milwaukee, Wis., March 30, 2006 – Pregnant African American women are invited to attend free prenatal courses held each Tuesday evening from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Ebenezer COGIC Church at 3132 N. Martin Luther King Drive in Milwaukee.

The courses are part of the Blanket of Love program, sponsored by Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital, the March of Dimes and Ebenezer COGIC Church. The program is supported by the City of Milwaukee Health Department Maternal and Child Health Division; Solomon United Method Church; and New Life Presbyterian Church.

African American infants born in Milwaukee are 2.7 times more likely to die prematurely than White babies, yet public health professionals and fetal medicine experts have been hard pressed to develop effective programs to reduce this rate.

“Part of the issue is that young African American women often do not feel welcome in traditional childbirth education or parenting classes,” said Julia Means, RN project director, Blanket of Love program.

Blanket of Love was developed because educators learned that young women learn best in an atmosphere of support and within ongoing relationships, said Means.

“The classes will teach young African American moms-to-be prenatal care, infant care and parenting skills,” she said. Although the program is focused on African American’s, Blanket of Love is open to women of other cultures and backgrounds.

Courses are designed to enhance the woman’s understanding of prenatal care, signs of early labor and the birth process. Additional components of the course deal with early childhood development, safe sleep environment and the dangers of second hand smoke.

To learn more about Blanket of Love, contact the program at (414) 840-8893.

About Columbia St. Mary’s
Columbia St. Mary's is comprised of four hospitals: Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Milwaukee, Columbia St. Mary's Columbia Campus, Columbia St. Mary's Hospital Ozaukee, and Sacred Heart Rehabilitation Institute, as well as 28 primary care clinics, the Columbia College of Nursing, a partnership with the Orthopaedic Hospital of Wisconsin, the new River Woods Outpatient Center in Glendale, and new Urgent Care Center in downtown Milwaukee. The system serves individuals and families in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, and Washington counties, with more than 158 years of service. In 2006, Columbia St. Mary’s was named a Solucient Top 100 Hospital. Columbia St. Mary's and its sponsor organizations, Ascension Health and Columbia Health System, share a mission to make a positive difference in the health status and lives of individuals in the community with a special concern for those who are vulnerable.  



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