Chicago Healthy Start Initiative

Administered by: Bureau of Maternal and Child Health

The Chicago Healthy Start Initiative serves pregnant women and infants who live in six of Chicago's highest-need communities: the Near North Side (08), West Town (24), the Near West Side (28), the Near South Side (33), Douglas (35) and Grand Boulevard (38).

The program's goal is to reduce the infant mortality rate in these communities. Services are provided through five "Healthy Start Family Centers." These centers are operated by a unique collaboration between a community-based social service agency and a hospital or outpatient clinic. As a result of this collaboration, both social and health services are provided at a single location, which makes these services more readily accessible to families and more comprehensive and coordinated. The program is overseen by a consortium that includes medical and social service providers, consumers, community residents, businesses, and governmental agencies at the state, county, and city level.

The Chicago Healthy Start Initiative is effective! Between 1991 and 1998, the infant mortality rate in these communities fell 39 percent (from 20.6 to 12.6 per 1,000 live births) and the number of infant deaths fell 57 percent (from 133 to 54). The Chicago Healthy Start Initiative is part of the federally-funded Healthy Start Initiative. The Chicago Healthy Start Initiative was one of the first 15 projects of its kind in the United States.


CDC Maternal Infant Health

Chicago Public Library

HRSA, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Poverty in Chicago