Boston: Healthy Pregnancies and Births Grant Award Announced

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BOSTON ~ Boston Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement Announces $50,000 Grant to Support Maternal Health

In a press release issued on Wednesday, February 14, 2024, the Mayor's Office of Women's Advancement (MOWA) announced that they will be awarding a $50,000 grant to Neighborhood Birth Center through their Healthy Pregnancies and Births Grant (HPB). This grant, funded by the City's Operating Budget, aims to address the need for group-based perinatal support and improve access to culturally and linguistically appropriate care for pregnant and parenting residents of Boston.

Mayor Michelle Wu expressed her support for this initiative, stating that "ensuring access to support before, during, and after birth is crucial for the health and well-being of our residents." She also emphasized the city's commitment to making Boston a city for everyone and investing in organizations that work towards improving birth outcomes and reproductive justice for all families.

The decision to award this grant was influenced by the findings of Boston Public Health Commission's 2023 Health of Boston report on Maternal and Infant Health. The report highlighted the persistent disparities in maternal and infant health among Black residents in Boston. Black infants continue to experience higher rates of low birthweight, pre-term birth, and infant mortality. Studies have shown that these disparities are a result of structural barriers, inequities, and racism that impact Black maternal and child morbidity and mortality regardless of income.

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City Councilor Brian Worrell (District 4) also expressed his enthusiasm for this grant as it will help Neighborhood Birth Center provide better access to care for those facing health disparities. He stated that "Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women" and he looks forward to working towards closing this gap so that all people receive equal prenatal and postnatal care.

Neighborhood Birth Center is currently offering workshops and programs in 2024 and plans to open a birthing center in Roxbury in 2025. The center aims to provide comprehensive full-scope midwifery care rooted in reproductive justice. It will be the second birth center in the state and the only one in Boston and all of Eastern Massachusetts.

Chief of Equity and Inclusion Mariangely Solis Cervera praised the grant, stating that it is a pivotal step towards addressing the persistent disparities in maternal health. She also expressed excitement about the positive impact that Neighborhood Birth Center will have on the community.

With this grant, Neighborhood Birth Center plans to design and facilitate 14 public-facing free community workshops for six cohorts of participants. This includes workshops offered in English, Haitian Creole, and to their partner organizations. Nashira Baril, Executive Director of Neighborhood Birth Center, expressed her gratitude for the City's commitment to advancing their work and stated that they are excited about the community programming they can offer this year through this partnership.

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This grant is just one of many programs offered by the Boston Public Health Commission and the City of Boston to improve maternal and child health. Other programs include Healthy Baby Healthy Child, Boston Healthy Start Initiative, Love for Latch, Father Friendly, and Welcome Family Program.

Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, Commissioner of Public Health and Executive Director of the Boston Public Health Commission, emphasized that there are significant racial inequities in maternal morbidity and mortality as well as premature births and infant mortality in Boston. She believes that this investment is a critical step towards eliminating these disparities while improving birth outcomes for all families.

For those interested in exploring additional funding opportunities offered by the City of Boston, more information can be found at www.boston.gov/grants. Any questions regarding City of Boston grant programs can be directed to grants@boston.gov.

Filed Under: Government, City

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