Closing the Gap (CTG)
Bureau of Maternal and Infant Health
Division of Community Health & Prevention
Illinois Department of Human Services

Fact Sheets List

Program Page

Program Description


The Closing the Gap initiative targets African American women of reproductive age residing in four community areas in Chicago. The communities are targeted to improve health systems and distribution of health information to these women who may be pregnant, at high risk for a premature delivery or whose infants may die from low birth weight or SIDS. Targeted areas include Austin on the West side and Englewood, West Englewood and Auburn-Gresham on the South side.


The purpose of the initiative is to promote development of community-based health systems with goals to:

  • reduce the number of very low birth weight infants born in the project area;
  • reduce the number of African-American infants who die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in the project area;
  • create a better-integrated city, state, federal and privately funded system of health services in the project area.


There are no direct services. The program strategies include:

  • Public information campaign
  • Peer counselors to change community norms on prenatal care and infant sleeping arrangements
  • Coordinating other federal, state, and city-funded infant mortality projects
  • Blending state and federal funds to finance prenatal and interconceptional case management

Program Data

Program Expenditure (Numbers in 000's) $344.0 $439.5 $562.5
Number of Grantees 1 1 1
Number Served 3,000* 3,000* 3,000*

*This number represents community residents that received outreach services.

Program Accomplishments

The Department's process evaluation will focus on adherence to the work plan and program model. The outcome evaluation will determine whether the project has decreased the incidence of prematurity and SIDS deaths among program participants. The matched birth and death certificate files will measure and compare changes of infant mortality rates within the targeted areas.