The Long Beach Health and Human Services Department has been awarded a $1 million grant from the California Department of Public Health over two years for the coordination, development and implementation of a public awareness campaign centered on the Black Infant Health Program, it was announced today.

“We’re grateful to receive this grant to support women and Black infants,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “This funding will help increase maternal and infant health awareness in the Black community and ultimately save lives.”

Black babies in America die in their first year of life at more than twice the rate of infants from all other populations because they are born too soon and are too small. Likewise, more Black women die during pregnancy and childbirth than any other ethnic group.

Evidence suggests that negative birth outcomes of Black women may be linked to chronic stress associated with social factors including racial discrimination.

Established in 1989, the Long Beach BIH Program supports 150 pregnant and postpartum women annually by promoting the importance of stress reduction, self-love, self-care, healthy eating, confidence building and increased social connections. The Long Beach BIH Program is one of 17 BIH programs across the state.

“It’s essential that Black mothers in our city and region know about the BIH Program to support them in healthy pregnancies and healthy births,” said HHS Director Kelly Colopy. “We are excited to develop a public awareness campaign to increase the knowledge and reach of this important program.”