The Dane County Health Council and the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness announced a new care coordination system, ConnectRX, that will help Black birthing persons connect with community resources.

ConnectRx is a cutting edge diagnostic software that screens Black mothers and birthing persons for social determinative factors that can lead to low birth weight and infant mortality when they visit the doctor, a press release from the City of Madison said. After the screening, patients are referred to various community resources to lower chances of low birth rate and infant mortality, according to the press release. 

ConnectRx has connected thirty pregnant people with services since its launch March 22, Dane County Health Council (DCHC) ConnectRx program director Ariel Robbins said in an interview with The Badger Herald.

Madison nonprofits receive grants from Neighborhood Investment FundGo. Evers announced Feb. 24 that Madison and Dane County would be receiving a combined $20.8 million from the Neighborhood Read…

 

“One of our key strategies was to diversify the workforce by adding healthcare providers and doulas that are more representative of the population’s they’re serving to improve birth outcomes,” Robbins said.

In 2018, Wisconsin ranked first in Black infant mortality, according to the Saving Our Babies website. Black babies are twice as likely to have low birth weights and three times less likely to reach their first birthdays than white babies. Black birthing people also face a mortality rate five times higher than white birthing people, Robbins said.

The results from the 2017 community needs health assessments sent to nonprofit healthcare agencies brought to light the stark disparity, which signaled the need for the program, according to the city’s press release. 

ACLU Student Alliance discusses Black women’s reproductive rights issuesThe American Civil Liberties Union Student Alliance at the University of Wisconsin collaborated with Planned Parenthood Generation Action to discuss Read…

“The DHCH wound up connecting with The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and EQT by Design, which are both black women-led organizations,” Robbin said. “Together they conducted community engagement to really help determine what was at the heart of these disparities.”

These efforts led to the Saving Our Babies Report in 2019, which revealed that racism and discrimination, economic insecurity and inaccessible community health services were at the root of disparities for Black birthing people and their families, the press release said.

All DHCH partners, including UW Health, have implemented ConnectRx and will provide referrals and follow-up appointments to patients who screen positively for social determinative factors, the press release said.

ConnectRx is the first of its kind to be implemented in Wisconsin and has already begun to correct birth outcome disparities between Black and white babies, Robbins said.

While it may take time to see the needle move in this area, Robbins said the DHCH, The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness and EQT by Design are confident they’ve created a program that will effectively address the issue.