DETROIT (WWJ) – Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan is using his office to help ensure that babies born in the city have a healthy start.

In Detroit, 18% of babies are born prematurely — nearly 6% higher than the state average. And, low birth weight accounts for almost 50% of the city’s infant mortality rate. Mayor Duggan, along with several partners — including St. John, Henry Ford and DMC health systems — launched the “Make Your Date” initiative, which offers support and medical services for expectant mothers in need.

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“By having and the telephone number, 313-577-1000, as a single entry point for every pregnant mom in this region to get the best care, we think that’s going to really matter,” says Duggan.

The campaign gives moms-to-be access to things like pre-term birth prevention classes and regular ultrasounds.

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“When you get DMC and Henry Ford and St. John to all agree on a single approach, you know that we have something special going on. And so, we just really feel like we wanted to make this as successful as possible to every pregnant mom,” says Duggan.

“It’s a center place for which we’ve rallied all of the providers together. And for mom it’s somewhere that she can get insurance coverage, if she doesn’t have it; get hooked up to a doctor for pre-natal care. If she has a doctor already, we’ll be with her for education and support,” says Dr. Sonya Hassan, associate dean for maternal, perinatal and child health at Wayne State University.

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Expectant moms who take part in the initiative will have access to a range of support and medical services at no additional cost through the DMC, St. John Providence and Henry Ford Health System. Patients can sign-up by visiting or calling 313-577-1000.