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Courage to Love:
Helping Babies Thrive Through the Power of Love

More black babies are born too early or die within their first year of life than white babies…a lot more. Many scientists now believe that the chronic stress of discrimination has an impact on women’s bodies and that social support is a critical mediator of that stress.

The Courage to Love: Developing Relational Approaches to Eliminating Disparities in Preterm Birth and Infant Mortality Project is looking at ways that love can be mobilized in communities to reduce the number of babies that are born too early or that die before their first birthday. Our project is centered in the Auburn Gresham community of Chicago where rates of pre-term birth and infant mortality are much higher than in predominantly white Chicago neighborhoods.

Through conversations with people in the community and the work of a core group of committed and connected thinkers, we are designing a program which will test out this idea and see if it works. Can creating a culture of Loving Community reduce the rate of pre-term births and infant mortality?

View a presentation that outlines previous efforts to address pre-term birth and infant mortality in Illinois.

Read a 2-part series about the Courage to Love project.

Part 1: Black Infants Nearly Three Times as Likely to Die in Their First Year.

Park 2: Closing the Gap: Black Infant Mortality in Chicago.

More Background on The Courage to Love

The Courage to Love was inspired by the work of the Commission on Infant Mortality’s report on infant mortality entitled, The Courage to Love.  Find out more about that report and the recommendations of the Commission here.

Go to Ruth’s House is the testimony of Rev. Dr. Ronald David, the chair of the Commission, to congressional staffers for Congressman Steve Cohen, U.S. House of Representatives, in 2007.

The Courage to Love is convened by the following key partners:

Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation which works to foster and promote revitalization of the low-to-moderate income communities of Auburn Gresham, Englewood, Greater Grand Crossing and West Chatham.

Become: Center for Community Engagement and Social Change which helps communities reach their potential by amplifying the impact of resources.

EverThrive Illlinois (formerly the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition) whose Closing the Gap and Campaign to Save Our Mothers and Babies lay strong groundwork on which Courage to Love can build.

Northwestern University represented by Dr. Craig Garfield, a pediatrician who researches the importance of fathering relationships for child well-being at Northwestern University.

The Center for Faith and Community Health Transformation

A joint project of Advocate Health Care & the OCEAN-HP at the University of Illinois at Chicago.