The Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative is a diverse coalition of Maternal and Child Health Leaders who seek to improve health outcomes for babies and their families by engaging and working collaboratively with the community, to reduce health inequities and promote racial justice in health care, so that Worcester’s infant mortality rate decreases and every baby and their family have the opportunity to thrive and prosper.
WHBC wants to address and improve health equity by gathering and analyzing data. Most importantly, we value the passion of every individual who helps with our work, as well as the interdisciplinary partnerships and community engagements.
The WHBC is comprised of local maternal and child health stakeholders, from agencies across the city. The members of WHBC have donated many hours of volunteer time, engaging in the community, and assisting agencies in grants to invest in the maternal and infant health for the citizens of Worcester.
The original Worcester Infant Mortality Reduction Task Force (WIMRTF), now known as the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative (WHBC), began in the mid-1990s in response to the high Worcester infant mortality rate (IMR).
In all of its efforts to address the higher infant mortality rate within Worcester, compared to similar cities in Massachusetts, the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative (WHBC) has an unwavering commitment to address health equity, seeing infant mortality as a result of poverty, disparities in education, and racism. The WHBC, has always taken an approach of addressing the social determinants of health in the framework of health equity.
Similarly, in its pursuit of lowering the IMR, the WHBC has analyzed IM data more deeply and in real-time to examine disparities among populations; such as the rise in the Hispanic IMR between 2004 and 2014, a time when the state and national IM rates for this subgroup remained flat. For the first two decades of its work in Worcester, the most striking disparity in IM rates was within the Black population of Worcester, and thus was an early and important focus of WHBC.
One of the original grants that the WHBC received was the federal Healthy Start Initiative between 1998 and 2012, which the WHBC partnered closely with. More recently, the WHBC received a 2016 grant from the Massachusetts March of Dimes to focus on community engagement with the Latino community. In 2017, the Remillard Family Service award from UMass was given to WHBC for its work to bring Baby Boxes to Worcester’s Latino community. WHBC members have also maintained a consistent presence at many local events including health fairs and festivals in order to help spread the message of health for moms, babies, and families of Worcester.