Detroit’s Henry Ford Health and its Women-Inspired Network (WIN) have opened the WIN Network: Detroit’s Group Prenatal Care Center at Henry Ford Medical Center – New Center One in Detroit.
The opening, led by Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, co-founder of WIN Network: Detroit and senior vice president of community health and equity and wellness and chief diversity officer at Henry Ford, comes 10 years since the first version of the group prenatal care effort launched and began to impact the lives and the health of babies and pregnant mothers.
“This expansion will no doubt save and improve lives. For many of the families we serve, the challenges of housing, transportation, and other obstacles supersede their ability to tend to their health needs and the needs of their families,” says Wisdom.
“We want to partner and implement the innovations and solutions coming from the White House and our other elected bodies in Washington, Lansing, and Detroit. Our plan is to scale and replicate this model across the state and beyond.”
WIN Network: Detroit pairs certified nurse midwives and community health workers with 8-to-12 expectant parents at similar stages of pregnancy for regular check-ups, education sessions, and community connections. Those services are offered throughout pregnancy and through baby’s first year of life.
The new center will increase the number of families that can participate in this program from about 100 per year to more than 250 per year. The goal is to expand WIN Network to other locations and cities.
Group Prenatal Care programs such as WIN Network: Detroit have shown a 41 percent reduction in preterm births for Black women and driven down disparities in birth outcomes, but there is still work to do when it comes to infant mortality, especially in Black and other minority communities.
“Right here in Detroit, we have some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world,” says Wisdom. “There has been much progress through the years and even more so in the last few years as the government has deepened its commitment to addressing infant mortality and health care disparities.”
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently announced the availability of $4.5 million for hiring, training, certifying, and compensating community-based doulas in areas with high rates of adverse maternal and infant health outcomes.
Dr. Richard Leach, chair of the department of women’s health at Henry Ford, related his experience with patients and fellow physicians who often lack the means to receive the care they need.
“As a physician focused on women’s health, I see the detrimental effects of inequitable healthcare and access to care,” says Leach said. “I also see the many people who are committed to changing this scenario. I believe that building programs that target and support populations affected by inequities will lead to better lives for these patients and families and for society at large.”