Communities Lifting Communities (CLC), the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, and the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC) announced the launch of the second Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies (Cherished Futures) cohort, a multi-sector collaborative initiative to improve Black patient experiences and safety for Black birthing people and reduce Black infant deaths in Los Angeles County. In Los Angeles County and across the nation, Black babies and birthing people continue to shoulder disproportionate pregnancy-related morbidity and mortality compared to other ethnic groups, which are likely to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Research shows that factors such as education, income and health status do not fully explain the gap, but rather points to systemic issues, such as racism and toxic stress throughout a woman’s life, that negatively impact birth outcomes. Cherished Futures has become a promising model to engage hospitals and clinics and promote institutional accountability as part of the solution to these longstanding inequities.
“We all must use our voices to clarify the impact of racism, and also undo racism, as a path to health equity,” said Dr. Deborah Allen, deputy director at Los Angeles Department of Public Health.
Six hospitals will participate in Cherished Futures’ second cohort including Antelope Valley Hospital, Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital Long Beach, St. Francis Medical Center, Torrance Memorial Medical Center and UCLA Health. Coupled with the three participating hospitals from cohort one, California Hospital Medical Center, Cedars-Sinai and Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance, project leaders say there is opportunity for county-wide reach.
“Collectively, this group has a tremendous opportunity to make meaningful shifts to advance birth and racial equity in Los Angeles,” said Dana Sherrod, birth equity and racial justice manager, and project lead, Public Health Alliance of Southern California. “We are striving to build a cadre of institutional leaders that are committed to this work long-term.”
Cherished Futures is aligned and working in close partnership with the Los Angeles County’s AAIMM (African American Infant and Maternal Mortality) Prevention Initiative, a countywide effort to reduce the gap in infant mortality rates between white and Black/African American babies by 30% by 2023.
“Black birthing people are looking for medical spaces that are glad to have us, listen attentively, and to deliver the birth experience of our choosing,” stated Yolonda Rogers-Jones, program coordinator, Black Infant Health Program, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
To learn more about Cherished Futures, please visit Cherished Futures for Black Moms & Babies.
Cherished Futures is funded by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, First 5 LA, the California Health Care Foundation, Health Net, and Centene Foundation for Quality Healthcare
With questions on Communities Lifting Communities or Cherished Futures, please contact CLC President Susan Harrington.