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Advancing Healthy Births

Mom lovingly holding a baby while smiling and touching faces

Advancing Healthy Births

An Equity Plan for Michigan Families & Communities  

In October 2023, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) unveiled the Advancing Healthy Births - An Equity Plan for Michigan Families & Communities (2024-2028). Continuing to strive towards the strategic vision of zero preventable deaths and zero health disparities, the plan underscores Michigan's commitment to sustainable actions and multifaceted strategies aimed at advancing outcomes for birthing individuals and their infants. 

From 2020 to 2023, the Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan (MIHEIP) guided the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) in collaboration with diverse maternal infant health stakeholders, fostering a deeper alignment of efforts statewide. The Improvement Plan integrated interventions across the maternal-infant dyad, embracing a holistic approach to care that prioritized the health and well-being of both mothers and babies.

Despite notable successes in perinatal and birthing outcomes, Michigan still continues to grapple with disparities. The root causes of health inequity are multifaceted, complex, and continuously evolving. Differences in health outcomes resulting from inequities in access to opportunities and resources serve as a fundamental driver of many of these health disparities. Black and Indigenous pregnant and postpartum individuals, along with their infants, face preventable deaths at disproportionate rates compared to their white counterparts. Barriers to care persist for Black women and birthing people from marginalized communities, irrespective of income, education, or socioeconomic status. These disparities underscore systemic inequities, social biases, racism, and discrimination, further highlighting the need for multifaceted approaches to attain health equity.

However, inspired by the voices of our communities, Michigan has taken steps to address the root causes of inequities and pursue systemic changes. Many of these recent successes have taken place because of the Mother Infant Health & Equity Improvement Plan (2020 – 2023). Throughout the implementation of the Improvement Plan, the invaluable commitment of tireless stakeholders and community partners has been instrumental in advancing Michigan's maternal and infant health outcomes.

To continue striving towards the collective vision, and promoting further alignment of statewide programs and strategies, the Advancing Healthy Births plan focuses on four Priority Areas, rooted in equity: health across the reproductive span; full-term, healthy weight babies; infants safely sleeping; and mental, behavioral health, and well-being. 


At the heart of all maternal and infant health programs and initiatives supported by MDHHS is the commitment to improving equity, reducing disparate outcomes, and ensuring healthy births for Michigan families. The advancement of birth equity requires a nuanced and multi-pronged approach, simple solutions cannot effectively address long-standing public health and societal challenges rooted in inequities. Across Michigan, all stakeholders in birth equity can employ the concrete recommendations and actions outlined in the Advancing Healthy Births plan to better serve Michigan families, with a special focus on improving care for Black families and other historically marginalized communities. To pursue equity in maternal and infant health, it is essential to consider the unique circumstances experienced by Michigan families. Listening to mothers, birthing people, and families informs all the work undertaken by MDHHS.


Michigan families and communities were consulted as content experts in the development of the Advancing Healthy Births plan. Their lived experiences, insightful perspectives, and innovative ideas are fundamental to enhancing health outcomes across our state. Only by listening to Michigan families as authorities on their lives and communities can we realize our goal of zero preventable deaths and zero health disparities – an equitable Michigan that all birthing people deserve.

Read the Advancing Healthy Births Plan for Michigan Families & Communities

Contact the Division of Maternal and Infant Health

Town Hall Meeting with community members in Region 10