Detroit Regional Chamber > Closing Equity Gaps in Detroit > Detroit Will Not Reach Its Full Potential Until Our Youngest Residents Reach Theirs

Detroit Will Not Reach Its Full Potential Until Our Youngest Residents Reach Theirs

November 2, 2023

By Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom

Health is the foundation of every community, and access to the highest quality and most appropriate care is something every Detroiter deserves.

However, only half of city residents (51%) are satisfied with the availability of quality health care services in their area, compared to about three-fourths (78%) of their suburban counterparts, according to the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Resident Voices Survey.

This disparity fuels the work of Henry Ford Health to catalyze meaningful change.

The vitality of our families and the success of our future greatly depend on how well we take care of our children.

In 2021, the infant mortality rate for African American babies in Detroit was 18.1 per 1,000 live births compared to 6.2 for the state of Michigan. This sentinel indicator implores health systems, social service agencies, educators, business leaders, policymakers, and a host of other stakeholders to do more — and to do better − to support our children and families.

This sentiment was the birthplace of Hope Starts Here (HSH), Detroit’s Early Childhood Partnership. Henry Ford Health and the Detroit Health Department co-lead Imperative 1, focused on the health and wellness of young children from birth into early childhood.

Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom holding a child

Pictured: Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom

The Detroit Maternal, Child, and Family Health Alliance, the action team for HSH-Imperative 1, was created to bring together health systems, community-based organizations, and maternal child health leaders to address these inequities, work collectively to reduce barriers to care, and implement transformative systems change for widespread impact.

In order to better support our community, it will take all of us working together. Detroit will not reach its full potential until our youngest residents reach theirs.

We welcome business and organization leaders to join us and answer the call to support the well-being and health of Detroit children and families. For more information, visit

Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom

Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom

Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom MD, MS, FACEP, is the Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity and Chief Wellness and Diversity Officer for Henry Ford Health.

The Detroit Resident Voices Survey Report highlights Detroiters’ daily experiences and perceptions and elevates issues that are central to their quality of life. Released by the Detroit Regional Chamber and Gallup Center on Black Voices, the survey report provides insights that can be used in the public, private, and philanthropic sectors to develop new programs and initiatives to identify and close racial equity gaps. It is part of the Chamber’s Racial Justice and Economic Equity Initiative.