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Lower Black Infant Mortality Rates in Los Angeles is Goal of New Health Net-Funded Grant for Cherished Futures

Health Net, through the Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare, awards a $300,000 grant to Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies to continue its important health equity work in L.A.

WOODLAND HILLS, CA (April 21, 2021) – Improving patient experiences for Black moms in Los Angeles County can drive lower Black infant mortality rates in the county. To help address this health equity issue, Health Net, through the Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare, has awarded a $300,000 grant to Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies (Cherished Futures). Cherished Futures is a joint initiative of Communities Lifting Communities (CLC), the Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance), and the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC).

“Addressing the rise in maternal mortality rates, especially among Black moms and babies, is one of our biggest priorities at Health Net,” said Dr. Pooja Mittal, Medical Director at Health Net. “That’s why I couldn’t be more proud of the work Cherished Futures does every day. By continuing to focus on improving the safety and experience of new moms, we hope to save the lives of pregnant women, give children the opportunity to be raised by a loving mother, and begin to close the gap in birthing experiences for Black mothers.”

“We are excited to continue building on the momentum from last year, and look forward to deepening our collective work with Health Net, our hospital partners, the health department, and community advisors,” said Dana Sherrod, Cherished Futures project lead.

First supported by a two-year Health Net grant awarded in 2020, the Cherished Futures collaborative officially launched in January of 2020. The first goal was to research foundational topics such as:

  • Racism’s impact on health
  • Health and contemporary policies that have harmed Black families
  • Other systemic issues that contribute to inequitable birth outcomes

Cherished Futures puts the voices and lived experiences of Black women at the center of their strategy to reduce inequities and inform hospital quality improvement initiatives. At launch, five local hospitals participated in the collaborative. Each hospital team was supported throughout the year by Black women community advisors as they planned for change. Those hospitals were:

  • Antelope Valley Hospital
  • Cedars-Sinai
  • Centinela Hospital Medical Center
  • Dignity Health-California Hospital Medical Center
  • Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance

Throughout its work, Cherished Futures engaged thought leaders, including Los Angeles Supervisor Holly Mitchell. Mitchell delivered the keynote address at the collaborative’s kickoff workshop in July 2020. She discussed her success in passing SB 464, the California Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act. That legislation, in part, mandates implicit bias training for providers caring for pregnant patients.

Cherished Futures also brought together nearly 80 decision-makers to co-design clinical, institutional, and community-based solutions. Stakeholders included:

  • Black women community leaders
  • Health plans like Health Net
  • The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
  • Los Angeles birthing hospitals

Thanks in part to this new funding, the Cherished Futures collaborative now moves forward in 2021 to implement a variety of systems-change strategies. Communities Lifting Communities and the Public Health Alliance of Southern California will continue hosting collaborative workshops, provide technical assistance to the hospitals implementing improvement strategies, and evaluate the collective success of the Cherished Futures model. For more information about Cherished Futures, visit

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About Health Net
At Health Net, we believe every person deserves a safety net for their health, regardless of age, income, employment status or current state of health. Founded 40 years ago, we remain dedicated to transforming the health of our community, one person at a time. Today, Health Net’s 3,000 employees and 85,000 network providers serve more than 3 million members. That’s nearly 1 in 12 Californians. We provide health plans for individuals, families, businesses of every size, people with Medicare and people with Medi-Cal — Coverage for Every Stage of LifeTM. Health Net also offer access to substance abuse programs, behavioral health services, employee assistance programs and managed health care products related to prescription drugs. We offer these health plans and services through Health Net, LLC and its subsidiaries: Health Net of California, Inc., Health Net Life Insurance Company and Health Net Community Solutions, Inc. These entities are wholly owned subsidiaries of Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 100 company providing health coverage to more than 20 million Americans. For more information, visit

The Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare is a non-profit private foundation dedicated to improving the quality of health care in the United States. The Foundation serves as a resource to identify and support innovative approaches to improving and increasing the quality of and access to healthcare for low-income individuals and families. This is accomplished through an inspired philanthropic giving plan that seeks to promote efforts and activities that identify and address core causes of unequal access and treatment in health care. 

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