In this issue: Black Maternal Health Week, COVID-19 guidance related to pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding, Community Action Teams and Doulas!
Thank you for your interest in the Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Initiative and welcome to our first e-Newsletter. The newsletter will bring you updates on our collective work as well as information on how you can be a part of the movement to end the injustice of black infant and mom deaths in our county.These are truly unprecedented times we are in as the entire world works to stem the spread of COVID-19. In light of this, we are committed now more than ever to advocate on behalf of Black families and activating a village of support on behalf of healthy and joyous births!
Black Maternal Health Week is ON!
We are gearing up to celebrate Black Maternal Health Week 2020 from April 11 through April 17, 2020. Begun by Black Mamas Matter Alliance to "serve to amplify the voices of black mamas and center the values and traditions of the reproductive and birth justice movements." In solidarity with this movement, the LA County AAIMM Initiative Steering Committee and Community Action Teams, as well as partner organizations are all planning activities to be delivered online or through other social distancing-friendly ways. We will be highlighting activities on https://www.blackinfantsandfamilies.org and our Facebook and Instagram channels (@BlackInfantsandFamiliesLA).
If your organization has a virtual event planned, we'd like to know or partner with you. Please complete the following survey to let us know: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/AAIMM_BMHW.
AAIMM During COVID-19
The Los Angeles County of Public Health has developed guidance for pregnant families related to COVID-19. It provides novel coronavirus/COVID-related information for pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. You can access it HERE.
Help during 'Safer at Home' Orders. We've also created a page with crowd-sourced resources to assist families during this time of social distancing.Please use the form on the page to submit additional resources that may be included. We are regularly updating the page. We thank you for sharing it: https://www.blackinfantsandfamilies.org/coronavirus_info.
Community Action Teams
African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Community Actions Teams (AAIMM CATs) have formed across the County, bringing together community members, public agencies, health care providers, community based organizations and others to address AAIMM in their local community. Find out more by visiting their pages and contacting their lead team members:
Antelope Valley Community Action Team (SPA 1) - Cesar Sanchez and Olga Vigdorchik
San Fernando/Santa Clarita Valleys (SPA 2) - Cesar Sanchez
San Gabriel Valley/Pasadena (SPA 3) - Annette Trejo and Jocelyn Estiandan
South LA/South Bay (SPA 6/8) - Adjoa Jones and Ellen Branch
The AAIMM CATs are still active during this time of social isolation and are working virtually to continue the great work they've begun.
Let's Hear It for the Doulas!
Acknowledging the importance of the access to doulas in preventing premature birth as well as infant and maternal mortality, a number of efforts are underway to provide Black families access to doulas.
AAIMM Doula Pilot. The Los Angeles County Department of Health (DPH), through funding from the state’s Whole Person Care Initiative, has launched a doula pilot designed to address the disproportionately high rates of Black/African American infant and maternal mortality in LA County. The program is free to expectant African American families. Almost 141 clients have been/are being served with over 22 births to date. You can learn about each doula here.
For more information, including enrollment, contact: Michelle Sanders at [email protected]
Frontline Doulas Program. Funded by HealthNet, the Frontline Doulas Program is led by Diversity Uplift's Sayida Preprah, a licensed clinical psychologist and doula, and Khefri Riley, who is also a doula. Frontline Doulas will provide 40 African American families in Los Angeles County (at no cost to the families) non-medical professional perinatal services. This includes; physical, emotional, informational, psycho-social and advocacy support during the pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period. For more information, visit their website.
LA County Doula Motion, was developed by Los Angeles County Women’s Policy Institute team in partnership with the South LA/South Bay AAIMM CAT, and co-authored by Supervisor’s Hilda Solis and Mark Ridley-Thomas. The resolution was unanimously passed by the Board of Supervisors on January 28, 2020. The motion highlights the disparities in infant and maternal mortality and instructs the Department of Public Health in partnership with AAIMM CAT and Initiative committee(s), Department of Health Services, and Department of Mental Health to develop plan to fund and expand doula services in the County. The fund plan is to include looking at funding for Medi-Cal enrollees, incarcerated birthing persons, and those that are ineligible for Medi-Cal.
How You Can Show Your Support for Doula Access.
Write letter of support to your State Representative for AB 2258, which would provide coverage of doula support to Medi-Cal clients.
- Educate your network on doulas
- Create/provide safe, welcoming environments for doulas
- Share doula information via website and/or news bulletins
- Enhance existing pilot funding
Participate in the SLA/SB AAIMM CAT Policy and Advocacy Workgroup Meetings on the 1st Tuesdays of the month 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm.
Thank you for being a member of our Village!
Black Infants and Families Los Angeles is the landing place for the work of the Los Angles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Initiative. We are a coalition of the LA County Health Agency (Department of Mental Health, Department of Public Health, and Department of Health Services), 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 Los Angeles County.