Community Forum on Dane County Healthy Birth Outcomes

Wednesday, September 9, 2009 - 10:04am

Community Coalition will be Developed

The infant mortality rate has long been considered an important indicator of the overall health of a society or a community. The U.S. has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the developed world punctuated by a significantly higher rate among African Americans. In contrast, Dane County currently has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the country for both African Americans and whites.

Under the leadership of Public Health of Madison and Dane County, a team of people associated with community organizations working in Dane County community came together to help identify what may have contributed to this trend and how to ensure they are sustained. The team first met in September of 2008, and refers to itself, "Healthy Beginnings Dane County." The team consists of members from such organizations as the Dane County Department of Human Services, Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, St. Mary's Hospital, Unity Health Insurance, Dane County Parent Council , and the UW School of Medicine & Public Health, Center for Women's Health Research.

This team has been participating in a yearlong Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute. The intent of this leadership program is to facilitate the development of collaborative leadership and public health skills among teams of individuals who are mobilizing communities to identify and solve health problems.

The focus of the Dane County team has been to sustain the positive outcomes in Dane County by 1) educating the public on these outcomes; 2) disseminating information on best practice strategies and programs on this topic, some which currently exist locally; and 3) forming a Healthy Birth Outcomes Coalition that will focus on aligning efforts across systems and organizations to sustain these positive outcomes.

These discussions culminated in a community forum which will take place on

• Thursday, September 10th
from 8:30am to 12:00pm
• at the South Madison Boys and Girls Club
2001 Taft Street, Madison

The event is open to the public.

According to Daniel Stattelman-Scanlan, Public Health Nursing Supervisor for PHMDC, one of the event's organizers, "one of the important things we discovered was that the nine months the mother is pregnant, although a very important time, is just one piece of what it takes to ensure a healthy birth outcome. The role of the community and the support it provides is another vital element in such good outcomes."

Nonso Njokanma, Research Specialist with the UW School of Medicine & Public Health, Center for Women's Health Research added, "One goal is for this forum to become a major first step in developing a county-wide coalition that will continually monitor birth outcomes in Dane County, and also make sure to support and sustain those key services that contribute to these outcomes. This is particularly important in light of the potential effects of the economic downturn. We are known for being a supportive community, but staying that way will take effort and collaboration."


If you would like more information about attending the forum, you can still register by logging onto

More information about the Healthy Wisconsin Leadership Institute is at

Public Health Madison & Dane County


  • Daniel Stattelman-Scanlan(608) 576-3109
  • Jeff Golden(608) 243-0302