The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health along with community partners launched a new plan today to address inequities in infant mortality rates and improve the health of mothers and newborns in the county.
The new strategy seeks to significantly reduce the black-white inequality in infant mortality by 30 percent in five years.
“Birth outcomes differ sharply based on the race and ethnicity of residents, with the sharpest difference occurring between white and Asian women and black women,” said Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd, Director, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
“Research shows the root cause of infant health inequality lies in the differing social experiences and access to resources of their mothers,” Ferrer said. “It points to stress, including stress associated with poverty and racism, as the link between a mother’s race/ethnicity or community of residence and the health of her baby.”
In 2016, the infant mortality rate in Los Angeles County was 4.0 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. Black infants died at more than three times the rate of white and Asian infants (10.4 compared to 3.2 and 2.0, respectively, in 2016), and more than two times the rate of Latino infants (3.9).
This plan reflects years of partnership and intensive discussions with state and county agencies, CBOs and community residents. The plan calls for work with community coalitions that can tailor the broad, countywide approaches to meet local needs.
Key features of the plan include strategies that:
• Reduce the chronic stress faced by black women due to economic hardship and the daily experience of racism.
• Improve the experiences of black women receiving county services by offering implicit bias training to all county employees.
• Enhance clinical services for black women that are known to improve healthy births.
For more information about the five-year action plan, [click here].