PITTSBURGH – Several Pittsburgh organizations and departments will receive training and technical assistance to reduce birth disparities.
Despite a decline in infant mortality rates on a national scale, the problem still continues within Allegheny County. Information shows that African-American babies are dying at three to four times the rate of white babies within the area.
In an attempt to solve this problem, The Allegheny County Health Department Maternal and Child Health Program and Healthy Start Inc. announced that they will undergo three years worth of training, provided by CityMatCH, in an attempt to develop policies and programs which will prevent further disparities.
CityMatCH is to provide these organizations with technical assistance that will aid them in creating solutions to these problems with an equity-based approach.
“There is growing recognition that chronic exposure to structural and institutional racism, regardless of a mother’s socioeconomic status or educational attainment, are primary contributors to the high rates of infant mortality among black women,” said Dannai Wilson, ACHD Maternal and Child Health Program Manager. “This opportunity to advance our work to reduce disparities in pre-term births is a result of years of planning with our Infant Mortality Collaborative membership of over 100 stakeholders from various sectors, including community residents. We look forward to continuing these partnerships so all women and children in this region have access to a long healthy life, especially black women and infants, given their rates of mortality.”
The training is a result of CityMatCH’s Birth Equity Strategies Together (BEST) Cities Project which began after the national organization received a $1.4 million grant from the W.K Kellogg Foundation.
The intentions of these initiatives does not solely focus on solving the problem, but also to spread awareness and address the inequities in birth outcomes. Hopes are to bring more evidence-based practices to the table that will improve overall equity.
The ACHD was also selected to participate in the Institute for Equity in Birth Outcomes, and Healthy Start’s place-based initiative in Wilkinsburg was designated as a Best Babies Zone, allowing the organization to continue to grow closer towards their goal.