Morning Mix


Strong Beginnings partners with Spectrum Health to provide maternal health resources to minority women

Posted at 10:38 AM, Apr 11, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-11 10:38:02-04

Despite improvements in maternal and infant health in recent years, significant racial disparities still exist when it comes to successful birth outcomes and maternal health among African American and Latinx populations in Kent County. Recent data from the county shows that Black babies are 2.5 times more likely to die than white babies, and Latinx babies are 25 percent more likely not to survive.

Strong Beginnings, a partnership between multiple community agencies and Spectrum Health, has been working to change those statistics and help level the playing field by ensuring that soon-to-be moms and even dads get the essential care they need.

Peggy Vander Meulen, the Strong Beginnings Program Director, has been a leading and long-time advocate of the partnership since its beginning in 2004. She discusses how Strong Beginnings has been dedicated to finding ways to improve these gaps in care.

Strong Beginnings promotes racial equity and eliminate disparities in birth outcomes between whites and people of color in Kent County.   

Spectrum Health is the fiduciary (or trustee) for Strong Beginnings. They help direct families to partnering organizations to ensure they have what they need for a healthy pregnancy and make sure their children thrive. Those organizations include:

Strong Beginnings also employs community health workers (CHW) to meet with parents in their homes or other convenient locations to offer social support, education, and encouragement throughout their pregnancies and the first 18 months of their babies’ lives. The CHWs work with nurses and social workers and connect families to these needed resources. 

Learn more about Strong Beginnings and its partnership with Spectrum Health at

Sponsored by Spectrum Health.