Events Planned to Celebrate Black Mamas; Local March of Dimes Funded Programs Address Critical Health Needs of Black Moms and Babies

Los Angeles, CA | Tuesday, April 2, 2019

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March of Dimes supports the second annual Black Maternal Health Week taking place April 11 - 17.  This campaign was created by Black Mamas Matter Alliance to bring awareness to the plight of Black maternal health and mortality. In California, as in many other states, maternal and infant health disparities between the African American community and other communities are significant. The preterm birth rate for black women in the state is 44 percent higher than the rate among all other women and 55 percent higher than white women.  Women of color are most at risk of facing pregnancy complications, and black women are more than three times as likely as white women to die from pregnancy-related causes.

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. Through advocacy, education, research and collaborative initiatives locally and nationally, the organization is working to address the health equity gap for moms and babies of color.  During Black Maternal Health Week, March of Dimes will be hosting and co-sponsoring events in Fresno, Victorville and Los Angeles to celebrate, empower and uplift Black mothers.

Los Angeles: Panel Discussion: To Be Black and Pregnant in 2019: Friday, April 12: 8:30 – 10:30 a.m.

March of Dimes is proud to be a sponsor of Black Women for Wellness’ Sisters@ Eight community forum and panel discussion, “To Be Black and Pregnant in 2019.” The panel will consist of five expectant African American & Black women sharing their experience of being pregnant in today's socio-political-economic climate. The discussion will include:

● Racism (implicit bias)
Challenges and solutions for Healthy and Successful Pregnancies
● Pending Federal and State Policy

● Call to Action: Supporting SB464 Dignity in Pregnancy & Childbirth.

The event is free, but RSVPs are requested as space is limited. A free breakfast will be served. The event will be held at Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, 4030 Crenshaw Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90008. Register on Eventbrite here:

For more information, please contact Raena Granberry at 323-290-5955 or

Fresno: A Wellness Celebration for Black Women: Saturday, April 13: 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.

March of Dimes is partnering with West Fresno Family Resource Center and Black Infant Health to create a wellness celebration for Black women. The celebration will include food, giveaways, and raffle prizes, as well as Health & Resource Information Booths, complimentary mommy pampering services. The first 75 registrants will receive a t-shirt. A free yoga session at 11am – noon, courtesy of Soul Birth Yoga, Dana Clark. The event will be held at Mary Ella Brown Community Center, 1350 E Annadale Ave. Fresno, CA 93706.

Victorville: Black Mommies Matter Baby Shower Tuesday, April 16: 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.

The High Desert Black Maternal Health Week celebration is a baby shower for pregnant Black women and mommies who have a baby under six months old. The baby shower, a partnership of March of Dimes and the Comprehensive Tobacco Treatment Program of Loma Linda University, will include an Info Fair, free luncheon, traditional shower games and prizes, as well as the opportunity to get your questions answered by a Nurse Practitioner and Counselor. The event will be held at Burning Bush Church at 14849 7th St., in Victorville. Mommies are welcome to bring one adult guest and their children under 5 years old. To RSVP, please call or text 909-747-7649 by Monday, April 8 with your full name, phone number and if you are bringing an adult guest and number of your children.

March of Dimes, the nation’s leading maternal and infant health nonprofit, is working collaboratively on all fronts at the local, state and federal levels to tackle this maternal and infant health crisis. New programs have been launched in California by March of Dimes and its partners to address these inequities. March of Dimes is partnering with Los Angeles County and the California Department of Public Health in a pilot program to reduce Black preterm births. In 2019, local programs to improve mom and baby health among communities of color are also underway in Fresno, Oakland, and San Bernardino, funded by grants through a partnership with Anthem Blue Cross Foundation.

  • A pilot program in Los Angeles the Community Birth Plan—Reducing Black Preterm Births in California, is geared towards turning these increased preterm birth rates around.
  • In the Bay Area and in Fresno, with a grant made possible through a partnership with Anthem Blue Cross Foundation, March of Dimes is funding community grants to clinics in Oakland and Fresno, to improve birth outcomes, especially for women of color, by implementing the IMPLICIT interconception care toolkit, an innovative quality improvement model that screens mothers for four risk factors at the well child visit: postpartum depression, smoking, birth spacing, and multivitamin intake.
  • West Fresno Family Resource Center (Fresno County)

Title: Encouraging Birth Spacing in West Fresno: A Community Canvassing and Faith-Based Approach

This preterm birth prevention project will reach a significant number of African American and Latina women in Fresno County through educational, outreach, counseling and referral activities via partnerships with churches, door-to-door neighborhood canvassing, and short-term mental health services. The project will increase knowledge of healthy birth spacing and maternal depression, and increase awareness of community resources available to provide reproductive health care and mental health counseling services. This innovative project responds to community stated needs for culturally appropriate services from trusted community leaders and credible messengers who understand the social, cultural, and ethnic contexts of the geographic region.

  • Healthy Babies Are Worth the Wait® (HBWW) (San Bernardino County)

Title: Preterm Birth Prevention Defined by the Community

HBWW is a March of Dimes preterm birth prevention initiative with a focus on decreasing preventable preterm birth, through partnerships and collaborations between hospitals, health departments and community organizations. HBWW focuses on the specific needs of the community, as defined by the community itself. In California, the March of Dimes HBWW Program is located in the High Desert region of San Bernardino County and focuses on: Tobacco and Substance Abuse (screening and referral), Mental Health (screening and referral for perinatal mood disorders), and Preconception and Interconception Health (education on preterm birth risks and birth spacing /contraception). The High Desert HBWW community program to address the region’s high preterm birth rate is now in its 4th year.

  • Loma Linda University (San Bernardino County, High Desert)

Title: Comprehensive Tobacco Treatment Program

This program provides smoking cessation services to pregnant women at various sites throughout San Bernardino County. Funds will be used to increase services to women in the High Desert, specifically offering them more locations and times to receive individual smoking cessation counseling.Additionally, staff will conduct more outreach to increase awareness of and referrals to the program, particularly for African American women.


About March of Dimes

March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every baby can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 80-year legacy of impact and innovation, we empower every mom and every family.

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