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Birth Equity in OC

By April 3, 2023 No Comments

In the United States, maternal mortality rates are two to six times higher for non-Hispanic Blacks than for non-Hispanic Whites, depending on where they live.  Marked disparities are also seen in maternal morbidity and infant outcomes such as infant mortality, preterm birth and low birth weight.  The crisis faced by Black mothers and their children and the solutions needed to transform the maternal care system are documented in Birthing Justice, a feature-length film currently available on-demand at https://www.pbs.org/video/birthing-justice-pxaxav/.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Featured Blog:   “Achieving Joyful, Healthy Births For All

For data on maternal mortality, maternal morbidity, and infant outcomes in the United States, California, and Orange County, see:

For information on how structural racism impacts the health of Black mothers and their babies, see the CDPH Centering Black Mothers in California Report.

This Black Maternal Health Week (4/11-4/17), and throughout the year, let’s collectively work toward a future where ALL Black birthing people have the rights, respect, and resources to thrive.  See Black Maternal Health Week for more information.

In April 2023, numerous organizations and stakeholders came together to host a pivotal Birthing Justice screening and discussion panel in Orange County, casting a spotlight on the critical issue of Black birthing inequities in the United States, including locally. This event not only highlighted the urgent need for action but also fostered a united determination among participants to tackle and eradicate the stark disparities affecting Black maternal and infant health outcomes.

Leveraging the momentum of this collective awareness and dedication, a groundbreaking initiative is set to start in Orange County. The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) applied for and received funding from the California Department of Public Health to implement the Black Infant Health Program in the County for the first time. This program, which is state and federally funded, represents a significant stride forward in the concerted effort to ensure equitable health outcomes for Black mothers and their babies.

Details about the program’s specifics, including site location and enrollment information, will be forthcoming. We invite the community and interested parties to stay engaged, and we look forward to providing more information as it becomes available. This initiative marks a crucial step in our shared journey toward birthing justice and health equity, and we are committed to making a lasting impact in the lives of countless families in Orange County.

HCA will be collaborating with First 5 Orange County and a community-based organization to provide these much needed and anticipated services.

For more information, contact:  first5oc@cfcoc.ocgov.com or PublicHealthNursing@ochca.com.

Past Events

On April 12, 2023, HCA joined with HERstory, Inc., UCI School of Medicine, UCI Health, First 5, MECCA, and Supervisor Sarmiento’s Office to bring a Birthing Justice documentary screening and panel discussion to Orange County.  Click here to see the full program and the bios of the panel members.

Additional presentations throughout the County are being planned to raise awareness about this important issue and encourage continued discussion and collaborations.

Future Events

Future screenings and events will be posted on this webpage.  Check back soon for more information.

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