Date of Defense


Date of Graduation




First Advisor

Amy Damashek

Second Advisor

Ariel Berman

Third Advisor

Wendy Kershner


Study goals were to explore maternal perceptions of possible ways to reduce infant mortality in Kalamazoo County, with specific regards to the infant mortality rates of non-Hispanic African American babies versus non-Hispanic Caucasian babies. Two focus groups were conducted of voluntary, anonymous, participants from the YWCA domestic violence shelter and clients of home visiting services provided by the Kalamazoo County Department of Health and Community Services. The focus groups were guided allowing women to voice their opinions about ways to prevent infant mortality in Kalamazoo. Women were also asked to respond to the goals created by a community planning committee to reduce racial disparities within infant mortality. Findings from the focus groups were analyzed to be presented to The Kalamazoo Infant Mortality Community Action Initiative, which is sponsored by the YWCA and aimed at decreasing the racial disparity of infant mortality and increasing positive birth outcomes among at risk women in Kalamazoo. Qualitative data analysis techniques were used to analyze the data. The main themes that emerged encompassed the following: safe sleep, maternal health behavior, healthcare, and stressors.

Access Setting

Honors Thesis-Open Access

Using Focus Groupsfinal.pdf (1002 kB)
Thesis Presentation