In Boston today, a baby born to a black mother is three to four times more likely to die by their first birthday than a baby born to a white mother. CCHHE believes that this inequity can be eliminated and has developed a comprehensive Birth Equity Initiative (BEI) to address differences in infant mortality and birth weight, particularly among infants born to black women. We seek to engage and empower women, their families, and their communities through prevention and intervention efforts ranging from research to community-based applications.
The main elements of our birth equity program are grounded in our belief that a lifetime of health equity begins at birth. Babies born at low birth weight are at increased risk for poor academic and health outcomes. The guiding framework for the BEI is the life course approach. This means that we seek to improve birth outcomes by helping women achieve good health before, during, and between pregnancies. This model links to and supports primary and pediatric care, safety in the home and community, nutritional assistance, and later risks to health, such as teen pregnancy, interpersonal violence, and dropping out of school, in a dynamic and full-circle intervention.
The neighborhoods experiencing the highest rates of infant mortality and low birth weights in Boston are within close proximity to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH). This allows us the opportunity to leverage our clinical expertise and community commitment to address a longstanding public health challenge.
Clinical and Community Strategies
We have partnered with the BWH Midwifery Service and our health center administrations to create our Centering Pregnancy Program, which provides a comprehensive group model of care. It combines health assessment, education, and support in a group setting for women receiving prenatal care at three BWH obstetric sites. The Centering model takes into account the special health, social, and cultural needs of young parents and provides them with culturally competent, supportive, and efficient care. The goals of the program are to:
- Increase contact with providers and enhance the patient-provider relationship
- Improve the birth outcomes of young women and their babies through prenatal care
- Empower young women through a process of education and prenatal knowledge
- Create a network of social support for women, especially among adolescents
- Promote the adoption of healthy behaviors during and after pregnancy
To learn more about our programs, how you could participate, or ways to support our efforts, we encourage you to contact us at (617) 582-0187. Like us on Facebook