History and Mission

The WHBC is comprised of a local maternal and child health stakeholders, from agencies across the city. The members of WHBC have donated hundreds of hours of volunteer time, engaging in the community and assisting agencies in grants to invest in the maternal and infant health of the citizens of Worcester.

The original Worcester Infant Mortality Reduction Task Force (WIMRTF), now known as the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative (WHBC), began in the mid-1990s in response to the high Worcester infant mortality (IM) rate.

In all of its efforts to address the higher infant mortality (IM) rate in Worcester compared to similar cities in Massachusetts, the Worcester Healthy Baby Collaborative (WHBC) has an unwavering commitment to address health equity, seeing infant mortality (IM) as a result of poverty, disparities in education, and racism. The WHBC, has always taken an approach of addressing the social determinants of health to address this issue in the framework of health equity.

Similarly, in its pursuit of lowering the IM rate (IMR), the WHBC has analyzed IM data more deeply and in real-time to examine disparities among populations, such as the rise in the Hispanic IMR between 2004 and 2014 at a time when the state and national IM rates for this subgroup remained flat. For the first two decades of its work in Worcester, the most striking disparity in IM rates was in the Black population in Worcester, and thus was an early and important focus of the original Worcester Infant Mortality Reduction Task Force, known now as the WHBC.

One of the original grants that the WHBC received was the federal Healthy Start Initiative between 1998 and 2012, which the WHBC partnered closely with. More recently, the WHBC received a 2016 grant from the MA March of Dimes to focus on community engagement with the Latino community and the 2017 Remillard Family Service award from UMass for its work to bring Baby Boxes to Worcester’s Latino community. WHBC members have also maintained a consistent presence at many local events including health fairs and festivals, to help spread the message of health for moms, babies, and families of Worcester.