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Black Infant Health Program Helps African-American Mothers and Infants

July 6, 2017

The California Black Infant Health (BIH) Program aims to improve health among African-American mothers and their babies by empowering pregnant and African American mothers to make healthy choices for themselves, their families and their communities. One in seven African-American infants in California is born too early or too small. Also, African-American babies are more than twice as likely as white/Caucasian babies to die before their first birthday.

Recognizing that traditional approaches to health education and medical care alone may have limited impact, BIH relies on helping each woman build on her own strengths to better face the considerable challenges of being a mother, and specifically as an African-American mother. Within a culturally-affirming environment and honoring the unique history of African-American women, BIH uses a group-based approach (10 sessions prenatally and 10 session postpartum) with complementary client-centered case management to help African-American women develop life skills, set and attain health goals, learn strategies for managing stress, and build social support.

BIH is located in 15 health jurisdictions where more than 90 percent of African-American births occur in California. These are in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Fresno, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, Sacramento, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Clara and Solano; and the cities of Long Beach and Pasadena.

More information is available at the Black Infant Health (BIH) Program page of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) website.