Gov. Whitmer, Mayor Neeley highlight need for investment to end healthcare disparities for moms and babies

FLINT, Michigan–Gov. Gretchen Whitmer met with Flint’s leading healthcare professionals to learn more about the work they are doing to advance infant and maternal health.

Gov. Whitmer and Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley toured Hamilton Community Health Clinic, 2900 N. Saginaw St., learning more about already existing programs designed to fight health care disparities and to decrease the rate of infant mortality, low birthweight and sudden infant death syndrome.

While still serving as state representative, Mayor Neeley successfully won $300,000 to fund a comprehensive effort to battle disparities in healthcare for moms and babies. That work is being headed by Dr. Debora Furr-Holden and MSU College of Human Medicine in Flint along with multiple partner agencies. 

Black and brown babies and moms remain at significantly higher risk of dying, according to statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. 

In her State of the State and her budget proposal, Gov. Whitmer called for a statewide Healthy Moms Healthy Babies program to ensure that Michiganders are given the care they need to have a healthy pregnancy, to combat bias against women of color amongst medical professionals, and to expand support for interventions that are proven to increase health outcomes for women and children. 

“This is about providing fundamental equality for all people,” Mayor Neeley said. “The statistics are clear. Something must be done. All babies deserve a chance. I am so thankful Gov. Whitmer for her progressive leadership. Her proposal would expand our pilot program on health disparities to create a systematic solution.” 

Joining on the tour were Ezra and Catrina Tillman of First Trinity Missionary Baptist Church representing religious partners, Sheryl Thompson from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Clarence Pierce of Hamilton Community Health Network, 3rd Ward City Councilman Santino Guerra and many others.   

Hamilton Community Health Network offers comprehensive healthcare services including adult and pediatric primary care, dentistry, obstetrics, gynecology, mental health, podiatry, pharmacy and vision services.