Press Releases

Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies Launches to Address Disproportionate Rates of Infant and Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Among Black Women and Families

A multi-sector collaborative uniting key leaders and Black women to create system wide change

January 27, 2020, Los Angeles, CA – Communities Lifting Communities (CLC), the Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance), and the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) today announced the launch of Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies, a collaborative effort to reduce infant mortality and improve maternal patient experiences and safety among Black moms and babies in South Los Angeles and the Antelope Valley. In Los Angeles County, Black women and families continue to disproportionately experience higher rates of infant and maternal mortality and morbidity compared to other racial or ethnic groups. Research shows that factors such as education, income, and health status to do not fully explain the gap, but rather points to systemic issues such as racism and toxic stress throughout a woman’s life, which negatively impacts birth outcomes.

Through a two-year grant from Health Net and in partnership with CLC, HASC, and the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, the pilot initiative will unite key decision makers from local birthing hospitals, public health, health plans, community-based organizations, advocates and patients to co-design systems-change interventions at three levels: clinical, institutional and community.

A collaborative launch event was held at Good Samaritan Hospital’s Moseley-Salvatori Conference Center in Los Angeles, where partners gathered for the first in a series of workshops, ultimately leading to the development of culturally-based hospital improvement implementation plans by the end of this year. During the morning session, attendees were inspired to think boldly and creatively, and were motivated by a call to action from George W. Greene, Esq., President/CEO of HASC; Carol Kim, Vice President of Community Investments & Government and Public Affairs, Health Net and Deborah Allen, ScD, Deputy Director at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

“Creating meaningful and sustainable shifts to advance birth equity takes time, energy, and purposeful leadership at all levels of the health care organization,” said Susan Harrington, Executive Director of CLC. “The collaborative aims to establish a solid foundation through the development of well-crafted, actionable implementation plans that are designed in partnership with Black women and families in some of the communities with the greatest needs.”

Cherished Futures has a cohort of five hospitals that will be participating in the pilot initiative: Antelope Valley Hospital, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Centinela Hospital Medical Center, California Hospital Medical Center and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center, Torrance.

Cherished Futures is aligned and working in close partnership with the Los Angeles County’s AAIMM (African American Infant and Maternal Mortality) Initiative, a countywide effort to reduce the gap in infant mortality rates between White and Black/African American babies by 30% by 2023.

“Preterm births affect everyone: mom, baby and society in general – and they are disproportionately impacting black mothers and babies,” said Carol Kim, Vice President of Community Investments and Government & Public Affairs Health Net. “Investing in data-driven efforts like Cherished Futures allows us to better understand and address this disparity and ultimately, provide better mental and physical health care to reverse this troubling trend. As we continue to look for ways to improve the health of our communities, Health Net is proud to support this very important collaborative effort.”

“Black babies are more than two times more likely than white babies to die in their first year of life,” said Deborah Allen, ScD, Deputy Director at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “That statistic is unacceptable, and I am excited that this collaborative will work intently to lead change in this area.”

The 2020 goals for the collaborative include exploring key interventions focusing on clinical, organizational and community level strategies to address African-American birth inequities; support pilot hospitals in the development of implementation plans to adopt culturally-relevant clinical and organizational interventions to better serve Black women and their families; and to increase the capacity of project partners to meet the needs of Black women and families through a series of implicit bias and cultural humility trainings, and other learning opportunities.  

About Communities Lifting Communities

Communities Lifting Communities (CLC) is a regional community health improvement initiative led by the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) to reduce health disparities and improve community health in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Barbara, and Ventura counties.

About Health Net

Health Net believes that every person deserves a safety net for their health, regardless of age, income, employment status or current state of health. Founded 40 years ago, the insurance provider is dedicated to transforming the health of communities, one person at a time. Today, Health Net’s 3,000 employees and 85,000 network providers serve more than three million Californians. Health Net provides health plans for individuals, families, employers, people with Medicare and people with Medi-Cal — coverage for every stage of life. The plan also offer access to behavioral health services, substance abuse prevention programs, managed health care services for prescription drugs and employee assistance programs. 

About the Public Health Alliance of Southern California

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance) is a coalition of the executive leadership of eight local health departments in Southern California. Collectively, Alliance members have statutory responsibility for the health of 50 percent of California’s population. The Alliance advances multi-sector policy, systems and environmental change to improve upstream population health and equity.