About The Initiative

The Crisis

  • Black/African American babies in LA County are two to three times more likely to die before their first birthday than babies of other races
  • Black/African American women in LA County are four times more likely to die as a result of pregnancy complications than women of other races
  • Harmful stress from the trauma and humiliation of racism and prejudice that Black women face daily is the cause


The Advocates

The African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Steering Committee guides the implementation of the LA County Department of Public Health’s 5-Year Action plan to address African American and infant mortality as well as informs the development and implementation of strategies to compliment the plan. This group also comes together to advance advocacy, awareness and policy change.


Steering Committee Members include:

Sonya Young Aadam

California Black Women's Health Project

Dr. Deborah Allen

Department of Public Health

Christina Altmayer

First 5 LA

Dr. Bita Amani

Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

Linda Aragon

Department of Public Health

Esther Casas

Children's Bureau

Barbara Dubransky

First 5 LA

Melissa Franklin

First 5 LA/National Children and Infants Collaborative

Kalene Gilbert

Department of Mental Health

Raena Granberry

Black Women for Wellness

Dr. LaTanya Hines

Kaiser Permanente

Tonce Jackson


Adjoa Jones

Department of Health Services

Felica Jones

Healthy African American Families

Mashariki Kudumu

March of Dimes

McKinley Kemp

Antelope Valley Partners for Health

Nomsa Khalfani

Essential Access Health

Helen O'Connor

Department of Public Health

Dr. Simie Patterson

Kaiser Permanente

Kaci Patterson

LA Partnership for Early Childhood Investment

Theion Perkins

Department of Mental Health

Nakeisha Robinson

iDream for Racial Health Equity

Yolonda Rogers-Jones

Department of Public Health

Brandi Sims

First 5 LA

Tanishia Wright

Department of Public Health


Community Action Teams in Service Planning Areas 1 (Antelope Valley) and 6/8 (South LA/South Bay) – those areas of the County with the highest rates of African American infant mortality countywide have already begun bringing together community members and community organizations to address African American infant and maternal mortality in their communities. Your participation in these teams is welcome! For more information, please contact Adjoa Jones  for SPAs 6/8 at [email protected] or Nannette Trejo for SPA 1 at [email protected].


The Solutions

We believe we can stop this injustice by working together to ensure that Black women have access to safe and joyous births.  

  • Quality health care delivered with respect and dignity
  • Sister circles and prenatal groups providing encouragement and support
  • Mommy visits at home 
  • Connection to resources and programs
  • Birthing coaches and advocates
  • Laws that place power in the hands of families and address unfair treatment
  • Birth plans