Happy Black History Month (BHM)! As we reflect on the meaning of love this month, as it's also the month in which we celebrate Valentine's Day, we narrow our focus on the Greek word, "philia," which translates to "brotherly love." Of the four types of love described in the Greek, it is considered the highest form of love.
Brotherly love is the love for our fellow person. This is what the Village is to us: loving our fellow person (or, mothers/birthing persons and their babies) as family. Let's continue to hold each other as family while we remain steadfast in our work and celebrate each healthy and joyous Black birth.
This month's newsletter features a BHM spotlight on Biddy Mason, a new RFP, job listings, and upcoming events. Read on to learn more!
Spotlight On: Bridget "Biddy" Mason
Bridget Biddy Mason (1818-1891) was one of the first landowners in Los Angeles beginning in the 1850s and founded the First African Methodist Episcopal Church in L.A. in 1872.
Although born a slave in Mississippi, Mason migrated with her last owner, Robert Marion Smith, a Mormon convert, to the state of Utah. Along the 1,700 mile, 300-wagon caravan trek—which she traversed entirely on foot—Mason set up and broke down the camp, cooked the meals, herded cattle and....served as a midwife—all while caring for her own three daughters, one of which was a newborn.
Once Mason and her family reached the state of California where slavery was illegal, she challenged Smith in a legal battle for her freedom. She successfully won freedom for herself and thirteen members of her extended family on January 21, 1856.
In Los Angeles, Mason truly left her mark as she continued to work as a midwife and a nurse. There, she used her money to purchase land which is now the heart of downtown L.A. She later founded the She continued working as a midwife and nurse, saving her money and using it to purchase land in what is now the heart of downtown L.A. There she founded the First A.M.E. Church, the oldest African American Church in the city.
Mason was able to accumulate a fortune of nearly $3 million and served the entire community of L.A. through philanthropy, donating to charities and caring for the poor and imprisoned. In addition to founding the First A.M.E. Church, Mason also started an elementary school for Black children and a traveler's aid center.
RFP: Backbone Support of Our South Los Angeles/South Bay African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Community Action Team
In 2019, the Reissa Foundation decided to provide financial resources in the form of $75,000 annually for 4 years to an organization that will be selected through a RFP process by the SLA/SB AAIMM CAT to provide us with backbone support through 2023.
The role of the backbone support organization is to provide administrative, operational, and logistical support to the CAT and work in concert with the CAT members to implement our developed goals and objectives.
The backbone support organization does not oversee the CAT, but rather works as a collaborator in service of advancing its strategic initiatives as defined under the county’s African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) umbrella initiative and set forth by the community.
The backbone organization should have experience with successful coalition-building and community engagement and should view their expertise as a value-add to the myriad of expertise within the CAT.
The grant is for 12 months with an opportunity for a one-year renewal. If you or your organization is interested in serving as the coalition backbone support to the SLA/SB AAIMM CAT, submit your proposal to Kaci Patterson, Senior Director, L.A. Partnership for Early Childhood Investment ([email protected]) with the following information no later than 5pm, Monday, February 21, 2022:
Cover Letter of Interest (no more than 1 page)
Resumes of staff that will be involved the project (not to exceed 2 pages per resume)
Qualifications, Experience, and Approach (not to exceed to 2 pages)
References (at least 3)
Previous Work Product(s) (not to exceed 5 pages)
Budget (not to exceed 1 page)
All submissions should be emailed: [email protected] by Monday, February 21 at 5pm PST with the following subject line:
[YOUR ORGANIZATION NAME] – SLASBAAIMM BACKBONE RFP SUBMISSION
JOB OPENING: Doula Program Coordinator
As part of the broad African American Infant & Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative (AAIMM), the Program Coordinator will be responsible for implementing the AAIMM DoulaProgram. The AAIMM Doula Program matches Black pregnant individuals with skilled Black birth doulas who provide support, advocacy, and education throughout the perinatal period. The Program also organizes workforce development opportunities for birthworkers of color and fosters demand for doula services via public awareness, clinician and community engagement, and statewide policy work.
The duties of the Program Coordinator include, but are not limited to:
- Implementing, monitoring, and assisting with evaluation of the AAIMM Doula Program.
- Recruiting, hiring and onboarding doulas, as needed.
Monitoring direct service activities and bi-weekly processing of doulastipends with DPH AAIMM Doula Admin team.
- Assisting with client recruitment, screening, and placement.
- Facilitating doula team meetings, and facilitating or participating in subcontractor, doula advisory, and AAIMM steering committee meetings.
- Assisting with developing and implementing subcontracts for training and/or services.
- Facilitating program presentations to, and maintaining relationships with, healthcare facilities, providers, and organizations that provide perinatal services.
- Providing regular legislative and programmatic updates to the AAIMM management and Community Action Teams regarding doulas.
- Participating in regular meetings of DPH AAIMM team and in check-ins with AAIMM Initiative Manager.
- Regularly reviewing program data with Epidemiologist to identify necessary pivots.
- Completing ongoing reporting requirements for California Home Visiting Program Innovation (CHVP) funding.
Collaborating with DPH’s AAIMM Initiative partner, First5 LA, and other key stakeholders to develop communications content and tools to promote doulas and the Doula Program.
- Participating, as needed, in the development of a county and/or state sustainability plan for doula services.
- Other assigned duties.
- Experience as a birth doula or full-spectrum doula;
- At least two years of programmatic and administrative experience in perinatal health;
- Project coordination experience and skills, particularly in coordinating large-scale, grant-funded, time sensitive projects;
- Lived and/or work experience with the population of focus, including experience with outreach & engagement to the African American/Black community;
- A Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university in a field related to the work of Public Health;
- Proof of COVID-19 vaccination; and
- Valid California driver’s license, proof of vehicle insurance, and reliable transportation or ability to secure timely transportation for off-site travel to various community sites throughout Los Angeles County as needed.
- Understand the impact of social determinants on health and commitment to addressing inequality in health care and health outcomes through frameworks of anti-racism and reproductive justice;
- Strong writing and interpersonal skills;
- Work experience in a staff capacity analyzing and making recommendations for the solution of problems in organization, program, procedure, budget, or personnel;
- Experience managing a team;
- Work experience in public health, government agency, non-profit organization, or on behalf of a government agency;
- Ability to act with judgement, confidence, and personal initiative in a fast-paced and highly visible work environment; and
- Computer literate and skilled in use of Microsoft Windows-based programs, including Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access).
Salary: $6,900 monthly
Please send resume and cover letter to Helen O’Connor ([email protected]) by Friday, February 25, 2022.
JOB OPENING: Perinatal Equity Initiative Coordinator
The Los Angeles County AAIMM Prevention Initiative is a coalition of the Los Angeles County Departments of Public Health, Health Services, and Mental Health, First 5 LA, community organizations, mental and health care providers, funders, and community members. We are united in one purpose: to address the unacceptably high rates of Black infant and maternal deaths in the county and ensure healthy and joyous births for Black families. Through a series of comprehensive coordinated strategies, we aim to reduce the county's gap in Black/White infant mortality rates by 30% by 2023.
The AAIMM Initiative approaches its work from a frame that the root cause of the mortality disparity is the stress caused by a Black person’s exposure to racism and the impact of that stress on a Black woman/birthing person’s body, compounded by structures in society that perpetuate racism, and the presence of implicit and overt bias in the systems of support that interact with Black families.
The Perinatal Equity Initiative (PEI) was established in the state legislature's Budget Act of 2018 as the Department of Public Health’s response to the alarming statewide gap in Black infant mortality. PEI is designed as a complement to the state's Black Infant Health (BIH) Program, a group-based service, information and social support program for Black mothers to buffer the negative effects of racism on their health. The goal of PEI is to improve birth outcomes and reduce preterm birth and mortality through interventions implemented at the county level that are evidence-based, evidence-informed or reflect promising practices.
Note: All workforce members must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Successful candidates for this position will be required to submit proof of vaccination against COVID-19.Candidates should not present proof of vaccination until instructed to do so by the hiring department.
This is a contract position through June 30, 2023, with possibility of extension.
The Perinatal Equity Initiative Coordinator will be responsible for conducting a range of tasks related to the effective and efficient implementation of the Perinatal Equity Initiative (PEI) and the Los Angeles County Five-Year Plan to address racial inequality in birth outcomes.
- Coordinate the planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of PEI interventions and African American Infant & Maternal Mortality Prevention (AAIMM) strategies.
- Represent Los Angeles County in all PEI statewide meetings and prepare quarterly and annual reporting as required by the state.
- Organize and participate in AAIMM countywide Steering Committee and management team meetings.
- Participate in the organization and communication of interdepartmental leadership group meetings and four regional Community Action Teams. Meeting attendance may require travel countywide.
- Develop and prepare funding solicitations, monitor budgets and contracts, and provide technical assistance and thought partnership to contracted agencies.
- Collaborate with First 5 LA communications team to provide input on messaging on AAIMM efforts.
- Supervise PEI Fatherhood Coordinator.
- Present the work of PEI and AAIMM at a variety of meetings and conferences.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Five years of experience in coalition building and community engagement.
- Demonstrable experience on efforts with and impacting African American communities/people.
- A Bachelor's Degree from an accredited college or university in a field related to the work of Public Health.
- Demonstrated understanding of the impact of social determinants on health and a commitment to addressing inequality in health care and health outcomes.
- Demonstrated commitment to and adherence to principles of justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion.
- Demonstrated ability to navigate sensitive topics, political contexts, and crucial conversations, as well as support authentic and trust-worthy collaboration among both community and county stakeholders. Conflict resolution and clear communication are both must-have skills.
- Valid California driver's license, proof of vehicle insurance and reliable transportation or ability to secure timely transportation for off-site travel to various community sites throughout Los Angeles County, including the Antelope Valley.
- Five years of experience in a staff capacity analyzing and making recommendations for the solution of problems of organization, program, procedure, budget or personnel.
- Work experience in Public Health at a government agency, non-profit organization, or on behalf of a government agency.
- Work experience coordinating large-scale, grant-funded, time sensitive projects.
- Ability to act with good judgment, confidence, and personal initiative in a fast-paced and highly visible work environment.
- Computer literate and skilled in use of MS Windows-based programs, including MS Office(Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access).
- Familiarity with Results-Based Accountability.
- Personal familiarity with the population of focus.
- Strong writing skills.
Salary: $7200 per month
Please send resume and cover letter to Helen O'Connor, [email protected].
The AAIMM Prevention Initiative is now recruiting doulas who work with Black/African American pregnant women/birthing persons and families for its Doula Program. Please see the flier below for details and requirements, and click flier to apply. Please share with anyone you know who may be interested.
Please note: doulas must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
TRAINING SERIES: Cultural Humility and Implicit Bias
Maternal Health Network of San Bernardino County presents a full-day interactive virtual training on Thursday, February 17 from 9am-3pm PST.
Join Dr. Sayida in the first training of this two-part, interactive, virtual training series. These immersive workshops are designed to increase participants’ awareness of implicit biases and cultural humility and offer opportunities to digest, practice, and integrate these concepts into the provision of maternal health services.
This event is open to MHN Members only. However, you can register and sign up as an MHN member simultaneously. Membership is free and open to all individuals involved in the maternal health sector.
For more information, please visit:
P.A.T.H. Training for Providers: Real Talk. Real Options.
AAIMM and Essential Access Health presents a new 2-part provider training series that centers reproductive justice and the P.A.T.H. framework for sexual & reproductive health on March 22 from 3-5pm PST.
Respectful, culturally attuned care and communication with Black patients/clients of reproductive age can help reduce the rates of Black infant and maternal deaths. Participants will leave with tools to help ensure that reproductive conversations with patients who are Black are empowering, informed and help effectively support them on their sexual and reproductive health journeys.
To register and for more information, click the flier above, or visit: https://www.blackinfantsandfamilies.org/real_talk_real_options_provider_training_series.
Save the Date!
Black Maternal Health Week 2022: April 11-17
This year's theme for Black Maternal Health Week (BMHW) is “Building for Liberation: Centering Black Mamas, Black Families and Black Systems of Care”, and reflects the work of BMHW founder, Black Mama's Matter Alliance, in centering Black women’s scholarship, maternity care work, and advocacy across the full-spectrum of sexual, maternal, and reproductive health care, services, programs, and initiatives.
Additionally, the 2022 theme reflects the critical need for learning about Black Feminist and womanist approaches in strengthening wellness structures within our communities, across the Diaspora, as a revolutionary act in the pursuit of liberation and in the global fight to END maternal mortality.
Watch Black Mamas Matter Alliance's Black Maternal Health Week National Call as we prepare for the highly-anticipated five-year anniversary of BMHW. The video (linked above) shares the purpose and goals of #BMHW22 and highlights all of the major activities happening online and across the nation in celebration of Black Mamas.
Also, keep an eye open for upcoming activities from blackinfantsandfamilies.org as we align our efforts in support of Black mothers and infants.
Black Infants and Families Los Angeles