Over the past several years, Hamilton County has moved from having one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the United States to being in the lower 25 percentile. While there is still so much work to be done, this staggering improvement deserves our attention. In this episode we check in with Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith and Dr. Elizabeth Kelly with Cradle Cincinnati who attribute their stunning progress to deliberately following the lead of Black women in the community. In too many sectors, racial equity is given lip service. We can learn so much from these two powerful women who didn’t just redistribute resources, they also redistributed power. 

Dr. Meredith Shockley-Smith, Director of Community Strategies and Dr. Elizabeth Kelly,  co- founder and Director of Systems Strategies, Cradle Cincinnati

Show Highlights:

  • Why humility is a “must-have” quality for any social change leader 
  • The initiative to hear, see and celebrate Black women
  • How a recurring potluck dinner became the basis for powerful community organizing
  • The importance of building bridges and forging authentic relationships across difference
  • Leading large scale change is really about letting go, but letting go is easier said than done
  • What happened when Cradle Cincinnati recognized that it wasn’t just a health care problem, it was a justice problem 


Cradle Cincinnati: http://www.cradlecincinnati.org/

Articles: SSIR Collective Impact model https://ssir.org/articles/entry/collective_impact

Start Strong Avondale https://www.cradlecincinnati.org/2018/04/12/the-neighborhood-of-avondale-develops-a-promising-model-to-save-lives-as-hamilton-county-infant-mortality-improvement-levels-out/