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The Mom Mentoring Program, a partnership between the School of Nursing at Baker College of Muskegon and Public Health Muskegon County, is working toward a vision of decreasing infant and maternal death rates in Muskegon County. The free program, which is currently enrolling mentors and mentees, is designed to provide local pregnant women with the support, education and connection to community resources they need to have healthy pregnancies and birth outcomes.
According to statistics on the five-year moving averages of infant death rates from 2015 to 2019 (from the Michigan Department of Health & Human Services and available HERE), infant mortality rates in Muskegon County exceeded the statewide average (7.2 versus 6.6).
In an effort to reverse the statistics, the new community affiliation program is committed to: connecting pregnant women with community agency resources, providing appropriate education for a healthy pregnancy, assisting in helping new mothers to learn parenting techniques and offering love and support without judgement.
“In the Nursing program at Baker College, service-learning opportunities, like the Mom Mentoring Program, are part of our commitment to the community and to our profession of caring, and are a privilege to be a part of,” said Melissa Miller, DNP, RN, Director of Nursing/Clinical Coordinator and Assistant Professor at Baker College of Muskegon. “The women in this program, both the mentors and mentees, are our neighbors and peers, and their health and wellbeing are integral to our own, and to that of our community.”
Pregnant moms/mentees will be paired with a volunteer mentor, who is required to complete an essential training session, participate in bi-weekly educational meetings and commit to at least one hour per week of active mentoring time over 18 months. Mentors support the mom mentee from pregnancy through baby’s first birthday. For mentees, the program is open to all pregnant women, no more than four months (16 weeks) along, who live in Muskegon County.
“The partnership we have with Baker College’s School of Nursing and our Mom Mentoring Program is a fantastic way to fulfill student requirements while serving as a valued community member,” said Sheila Wilson, BSN, RN, Maternal and Child Health Supervisor with Public Health Muskegon County. “Helping women throughout their pregnancy journey, and up to baby’s first birthday, can be very rewarding.”
About Baker College
Founded in 1911, Baker College is one of Michigan’s largest, private nonprofit colleges and the top private transfer school in the state. Baker College has multiple on-ground campus locations and two affiliate sites across the state, as well as an online global campus offering more than 40 academic program options for both undergraduate and graduate degrees. Learn more at www.baker.edu or follow Baker College on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
About Public Health Muskegon County
Servicing our county’s population of 173,467, Public Health Muskegon County’s mission is to promote health, prevent disease and protect environmental health. Founded in 1937, the roles of Public Health are to see that vital elements are in place and that the mission is adequately addressed. This role is accomplished by implementation of the core functions of public health: assessment of information on the health of the community, comprehensive public health policy development and assurance that public health services are provided in the community. Each year, through the budget process and through contracts established with the State, the Board of Commissioners determines which programs and services will be established and maintained to respond to legal requirements.