I really wondered what this information could potentially mean for me as a formally educated Black woman in Los Angeles County (LAC) who is planning to be a parent in the future.
According to the LAC Department of Public Health website, Black infants in California are more than twice as likely to die during their first year of life in comparison to other infants.
This is primarily due to racism and discrimination the mothers have experienced.
However, reducing and eliminating racial disparities in infant mortality is a notable issue that is being addressed by LAC.
LAC was one of the 1st jurisdictions to receive funding from the state to create the Black Infant Health Program (BIH), which provides culturally specific perinatal interventions and gives pertinent health education information about issues impacting Black mothers and infants.
This program was started due to a California Senate Bill (165 of the Budget Act of 1989) and provides the following:
- Care coordination and follow-up to ensure timely access to health care services
- Social support and empowerment classes
- An annual "Celebrate healthy babies" event
- Coordination with providers to improve a client prenatal care, lifestyle choices, and incidence of premature birth
- Collaboration with outside entities to develop and strengthen community relationships and to solicit input on culturally appropriate strategies to reduce Black infant mortality.