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Northside Kalamazoo

BBZNorthsideCradleKalamazoo WHY THE NORTHSIDE?

The Northside Neighborhood is a historic neighborhood and home to 10,000 of Kalamazoo’s residents. Compared to the rest of Kalamazoo County, babies born to families in the Northside are three times more likely to die before their first birthday. Additionally, babies are more likely to be born into poverty.

The Northside Neighborhood remains resilient. Many organizations, especially faith-based institutions, are committed to improving the overall health and success of residents in the Northside. The Best Babies Zone (BBZ) Northside will grow with the support of the BBZ Technical Assistance Center (TAC) funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


Infant mortality is a public health crisis in Kalamazoo County. The Kalamazoo County infant mortality rate is one of the highest in the State of Michigan. While the overall infant mortality rate has decreased in the last 30 years, the disparity among babies of color and white babies has increased. In Kalamazoo, babies of color are four times more likely to die before their first birthday than their white neighbors, regardless of their family’s income. Kalamazoo has rallied together to support those who need it the most.

Cradle Kalamazoo is a multi-agency, multi-sector community initiative in Kalamazoo County. Cradle Kalamazoo’s goal is to reduce infant death and promote respect for families, women and their children. By 2020, Cradle Kalamazoo hopes to reduce the infant mortality rate of babies of color to 6.0 per 1,000 live births.


Cradle Kalamazoo is working with Healthy Babies Healthy Start, YWCA Kalamazoo, the Northside Ministerial Alliance and Douglas Community Association to truly engage the Northside Neighborhood residents in our work around infant mortality. We plan on doing this by:

  • Ensuring cultural competency of programs, policies, and providers
  • Building a perinatal home visitation network
  • Promoting and educating about infant safe-sleep programs
  • Providing reproductive health education and support