$1 Million Grant to Development of a Black Infant Health Program Public Awareness Campaign

The City of Long Beach Health and Human Services Department has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the California Department of Public Health (CDHP) over two years for the coordination, development and implementation of a public awareness campaign centered on the Black Infant Health (BIH) Program. Black babies in America die in their first year of life at more than twice the rate of babies from all other populations because they are born too soon and are too small. Likewise, more Black women die during pregnancy and childbirth than any other ethnic group.

Evidence suggests that negative birth outcomes of Black women may be linked to chronic stress associated with social factors including racial discrimination. Established in 1989, the Long Beach BIH Program supports 150 pregnant and postpartum women annually by promoting the importance of stress reduction, self-love, self-care, healthy eating, confidence-building, and increased social connections. The Long Beach BIH Program is one of 17 BIH programs across the state.

“It’s essential that Black mothers in our city and region know about the BIH Program to support them in healthy pregnancies and healthy births,” said Health and Human Services Director Kelly Colopy. “We are excited to develop a public awareness campaign to increase the knowledge and reach of this important program.”

Funding for the campaign will be used to:

• Increase awareness of infant and maternal health inequities within Black populations.

• Increase enrollment of Black pregnant women and mothers up to six months postpartum in the BIH Program.

• Launch a pregnancy app to provide culturally tailored information for Black women across California.

The Long Beach BIH Program will collaborate with the Northern California grantee, Alameda County Public Health Department, to develop a statewide public awareness campaign focused on maternal and infant birth inequities in California. The campaign will include an app that will provide pregnancy education, gestational calendars, meditation and stress reduction strategies, as well as breastfeeding information specifically tailored to Black women.

The campaign will span across all 17 BIH programs, including five Southern California counties: Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego.