Faculty Mentor

Susan Giaimo


Guadalupe Avalos is a senior majoring in International Affairs and minoring in health studies. She enjoys traveling, networking, and reading. Guadalupe is a Sande Robinson Emerging Leader and will be a first generation graduate. After graduation in May 2014, she plans to pursue her Master’s focusing on global health interventions.



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Metropolitan Milwaukee had infant mortality rates at 9.5 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010, according to the Milwaukee Health Department. This rate is a reversal of earlier decades. Between 2005 and 2008, Milwaukee experienced its highest infant mortality rate at 11 deaths per 1,000 live births. Disparities are most evident between African-Americans and Whites. Therefore, most explanations of infant mortality rates are compared between the two backgrounds. Since 2008, infant mortality rates have dwindled; however, the rates remain unacceptably high. A rate of 9.5 deaths per live births is detrimental and a public health issue.

By analyzing causes that contribute to infant mortality, such as SIDS/SUDI, high levels of stress due to poverty and unemployment, and poor prenatal care, we realize most are highly preventable. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services has committed to addressing the public health issue, promoting immunizations, access to prenatal care, and hosting crib drives for safe sleeping. Milwaukee’s infant mortality is compared to Costa Rica, a developing country. This unique perspective will be a valuable contribution to the other studies being conducted. An emphasis on social factors is made rather than solely looking at the health causes. Findings revealed that socioeconomic status is not a direct cause of infant mortality. Instead it is a contributor to consequences endured by women of high stress and thus causing premature births. A healthier community is also necessary to lower infant mortality rates. Milwaukee lacks social stability and it is contributing to the shockingly high infant mortality rates.

Publication Date

Summer 2013


Community Health

Guadalupe Avalos - Filling Caskets More Quickly than Cribs?: A comparison of Infant Mortality in Milwaukee and Costa Rica