March 2021
Responding to African American Infant Mortality
Celebrating a baby’s birth can be a joyous time for a family. But the celebration can end too soon when a baby doesn’t live to see his first birthday.

The rate of infant mortality for America’s Black babies is more than twice the rate of white babies. In addition, Black babies are more than three times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight, compared to white babies in the U.S.

Causes of infant mortality include birth defects, preterm birth, maternal pregnancy complications, sudden infant death syndrome, and injuries, such as suffocation.

Another reason why the infant mortality rate is higher among African American babies: structural racism.

“Embedded within these persistent disparities are the ongoing effects of institutional racism—racism that began with the enslavement of Black people, was embedded in our earliest institutions, and has continued to influence policies and practices ever since,” researchers say in a National Institute for Children’s Health Quality report.

Faith Communities Play an Important Role for Expectant Mothers
Participating in the life of a faith community can provide numerous benefits for expectant mothers:

  • Praying, meditating, singing, reading sacred texts, and practicing other rituals can strengthen immunity, improve the body’s response to stress and boost other measures of physical health, according to numerous studies.
  • Faith communities offer a regular place to anchor and replenish – a spiritual home to which a mother-to-be can return any time.
  • Faith communities can provide expectant mothers with a network of support: friends they can call on socially or in time of crisis.

Faith communities can support pregnant women and new moms by offering:

  • health ministries and activities, such as support groups and transportation to medical appointments,
  • classes on newborn care, safe infant sleep, and breastfeeding,
  • community baby showers to provide equipment and supplies mothers may not have access to,
  • a lactation room for nursing mothers.
Related Reading

Black moms are less likely than their white counterparts to breastfeed, a statistic that LuVerda Martin (right) has witnessed firsthand in her 21 years practicing as a nurse midwife. That is why Martin provides breastfeeding education to all her patients during their prenatal visits, so they know it is a viable option for them. Keep reading.

Evidence demonstrates that fathers play a critical role in children’s health and development, beginning in the prenatal period and continuing through early childhood and adolescence. When fathers are involved during pregnancy, mothers are 1.5 times more likely to receive prenatal care in the first trimester, which has positive implications for both maternal and infant health. Keep reading.
Maternal and Child Health Resources
Bulletin Insert and Worship Slide

Share this the bulletin insert and worship slide with your faith community to raise awareness of how:

  • faith communities can support mothers-to-be
  • participating in the life of a faith community can benefit expectant mothers.
  • mother and baby can thrive before, during and after pregnancy.

Advocate Aurora Health offers Healthy Steps for Young Children (Healthy Steps), a program that focuses on the importance of the first three years of life.

Healthy Steps emphasizes a close relationship between health care professionals and parents in addressing the physical, emotional, and intellectual growth and development of children from birth to age three.
The program offers virtual visits and information on post-partum education/referral, developmental screenings, breastfeeding, and social-emotional well-being assessments for children and mothers.

To learn more, contact Alix McNulty, Manager of Community Outreach and Population Health with Advocate Aurora Health.

Access trusted health information for parents, teenagers and children. Explore online resources on a wide variety of health topics, including maternal and child health:

See Virtual Early Reading Resources: Spring 2021, which features links to local library online events. In many cases, you don't need to be a member of the library to participate in virtual programs!
Additional Resources

Advocate Health Care High-Risk Pregnancy Management through a multi-disciplinary team of experts, diagnostic services and fetal medicine.

Text4Baby. Get support throughout your pregnancy and your baby's first year with free text messages on topics like prenatal care, baby health, parenting & more.

After the Baby Arrives – CDC. Includes a wide range of health, safety, and child development resources and information.

Safe to Sleep Campaign offers safe infant sleep basics, resources, research and more.

Advocate Children's Hospital Car Seat Basics: A Virtual Class. Zoom with our Certified Car Seat Technicians as we demonstrate the ABC’s of car seats.
Everthrive Illinois believes all moms and infants in our state should have positive health outcomes that are not determined or impacted by their race or ethnicity. Additionally, every family, regardless of insurance status, deserves high-quality health care.

Office on Women’s Health offers resources on pregnancy, getting ready for baby, and childbirth and beyond.

Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services offers resources on improving moms' and babies' health, preconception care, screening services and more.

The Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services wants you to know that infant mortality is preventable. Download brochure.
Congratulations to Patricia Jackson, community health worker with Advocate Aurora Health, who received the Community Health Advocate of Impact Award during the recent Black Health Matters summit.

She was honored “for building a culture of health that is sustainable through collaboration and partnership” through her work with the Partners in Faith & Health Network.

Thank you, Patricia, for all that you do in helping improve the health of those in the Southland community!
Town Hall Recording Now Available
If you missed the Feb. 6 virtual town hall, "Church, Community & Civic Engagement," you have the opportunity to view the recorded session.

Bishop Sedgwick Daniels, pastor of Holy Redeemer Church of God in Christ, Milwaukee, discussed various aspects of how the church, our community leaders and our civic leaders can collaborate and build toward the advancement of kingdom principles and agendas.

Joining Bishop Daniels was Senator Cory Booker, Congressman Bobby Rush, Congresswoman Gwen Moore, Congressman Jim Clyburn and Congresswoman Robin Kelly.

Click here to download the flyer (right).
Ask the Experts: COVID-19 Vaccine
Watch Advocate Aurora Health CEO Jim Skogsbergh, who was joined by Dr. Robert Citronberg, our Executive Medical Director of Infectious Disease and Prevention, and Dr. Jacqueline Ivey-Brown, a primary care physician with Advocate Medical Group, answer questions about the COVID-19 Vaccine.

We discussed the new one-shot vaccine, vaccine distribution and what we know about their protection against new strains of the virus. We shared the facts, discussed the latest CDC guidelines and the vaccine’s safety and efficacy. We also heard from Governor Evers and Governor Pritzker who discussed the latest with vaccine distribution in Illinois and Wisconsin. Watch on Facebook and YouTube.
La vacuna contra el COVID-19: mitos y realidad

Desde marzo de 2020, los miembros del equipo de Advocate Aurora trabajan incansablemente en la lucha contra la pandemia de COVID-19. La vida se ve diferente en casi todos los aspectos, y todos queremos volver a la normalidad. Finalmente, tenemos la salida en nuestras manos: una vacuna.

Aunque la vacunación masiva es la única forma de ponerle fin a la pandemia, muchos mitos circulan alrededor de este éxito científico. Es importante conocer la realidad sobre la vacunación contra el COVID-19, que comenzó a implementarse en los sitios Advocate Aurora esta semana para los miembros del equipo de la primera línea. Debemos usar los datos científicos para tomar decisiones respecto de la vacuna, en lugar de la información errónea que se difunde en las redes sociales.

Advocate Aurora Health COVID-19 Resources
A panel of our Spanish-speaking physicians sat down to answer the most frequently asked questions about the COVID-19 vaccine in this virtual Community Town Hall.
Get the facts on the safety and efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine. Download flyer in English and Spanish.
The Truth About the COVID-19 Vaccine flyer in English and Spanish.
See the latest COVID-19 vaccine news, care and information in English and Spanish.
All of our hospitals have moved to a Limited Visitor Policy which
allows Non COVID patients to have two designated visitors throughout the duration of their stay, with one visitor
allowed at a time.
See "COVID-19 Vaccine: Top 10 Things You Need to Know" in English
The LiveWell app makes it easy for families to manage their health all in one place.
The Advocate Aurora Health COVID-19 Resource Center in English and Spanish provides the most up-to-date information, tools and resources.
Anyone experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or who believes they have been exposed, should visit our Symptom Checker in English or Spanish or call our hotline at 866 443 2584 both available 24/7 to find out what to do next.
COVID-19 Virtual Care Program Available

Advocate Aurora Health and the State of Illinois have partnered to help people recover from COVID 19 safely at home. The program is available to all residents over 12 months of age with known exposure to COVID 19 or experiencing COVID like symptoms. The program is free and there are no insurance requirements.

The program offers:
  • Daily virtual check ins via our LiveWell app or website for a period of 14 days
  • Educational information
  • Symptom self management and support
  • A home monitoring kit for those who qualify

If you’re an Illinois resident, call 866 443 2584 to enroll.

"It's Up to You" COVID-19 Vaccination Education Campaign
The Ad Council recently released a COVID-19 vaccine campaign, “It’s Up to You,” which includes FAQs in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Haitian Creole and Vietnamese.

The campaign also offers COVID-19 Vaccine Education resources in English and Spanish, including some that are intended for faith community audiences:

  • Public Service Announcement, Worship

'All in' Against COVID-19
The Partnership Center for Faith-based & Neighborhood Partnerships offers a FAQ and guide to support vaccine confidence for faith and community leaders.

'All in' Against COVID 19 offers step-by-step recommendations, such as:

  • Get and Share the Facts about COVID-19 and risk factors
  • Get Vaccinated: includes information on when and where the public can get the vaccine
  • Get Involved: includes ways to inform your community, encourage your members to get vaccinated and to help stop the spread of COVID-19
  • Getting Resources: includes links to CDC resources
Mental Health Resources

Mental Health e-newsletter available

Advocate Aurora Health Faith and Mental Health Quarterly provides updates on mental health resources, events and news to support the well-being of people in your congregation and community.

If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please contact Cindy Novak.
March Observances

March 1: St. David's Day - Christianity
March 1-19: Nineteen Day Fast - Baha'i
March 7: Meatfare Sunday - Orthodox Christianity
March 11: Isra and Mi'raj - Islam
March 11: Maha Shivaratri - Hinduism
March 14: Cheesefare Sunday - Orthodox Christianity
March 15: Lent begins - Orthodox Christianity
March 17: St. Patrick's Day - Christianity
March 19: St. Joseph's Day - Christianity
March 21: New Year - Baha'i and Persian/Zoroastrian
March 25: Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Christianity
March 27: Lord's Evening Meal - Jehovah's Witness
March 28: Palm Sunday - Christianity
March 28: First Day of Passover - Judaism
March 28: Lailat al Bara'ah - Islam
March 29: Holi - Hinduism
Tell Us What You Think

We invite you to take the annual Faith and Health Partnerships e-newsletter survey. The feedback you provide will prove invaluable as we plan upcoming issues.

Thank you in advance for your responses!

Take the survey here.
Want to Hear From You!

We hope you find this update helpful as you promote the health of your members and community. Please contact Cindy Novak if you have questions or topics you'd like us to address. Thank you!
Click here to subscribe to health enews, a news service of Advocate Aurora Health, which offers breaking health stories, weight loss tips, exercise advice, the latest treatment options and much more.
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