November 2023: PAM, RWJFG, TOS Wrap-Up

Thank you so much for your continued support of the African American Infant and Maternal (AAIMM) Mortality Prevention Initiative. Together, we're working to end the injustice of Black infant and maternal deaths in LA County and work towards joyous, healthy, and equitable birthing outcomes. In this newsletter, you'll find updates and news related to Prematurity Awareness Month, our recent Taste of Soul activation, upcoming events, and a very special announcement regarding AAIMM winning the 2023 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. 

AAIMM Honors Prematurity Awareness Month and World Prematurity Awareness Day

November is Prematurity Awareness Month and November 17 is World Prematurity Awareness Day. Join us as we share tips and resources to help reduce the risk of premature birth, and support new parents of premature babies.

On our website, we are highlighting some of our partners and Village Fund grantees who are working to help families who are experiencing a premature birth, as well as those who can be part of the plan to take preventative measures to ensure a healthy and joyous birthing experience. 

We've also included a link to the March of Dimes 2023 Report Card, which shares the collective factors that contribute to maternal and infant mortality and morbidity, and provides nationwide statistics. It also points to ways that we can collectively work to improve maternal and infant health in the U.S. 

Download our Prematurity Awareness Guide which contains tips to activate your village as an anchor of support, learn the signs of premature birth, and help prevent premature birth.  

You can also participate in the conversation on social media by following @blackinfantsandfamiliesla and share our content using #PrematurityAwarenessMonth, #WorldPrematurityAwarenessDay, and #AAIMM.

AAIMM Wins the 2023 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize

AAIMM received the 2023 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Culture of Health Prize. The prize celebrates communities across the country where people and organizations are collaborating to build positive solutions to barriers that have created unequal opportunities for health and well-being. 

In Los Angeles County, a movement for Black families is leading the county forward in a way that centers joy and justice by addressing structural racism at the root of Black maternal health disparities. Because of this work:

  • Almost 1,000 Black individuals who have given birth and their families in Los Angeles have received free doula support.

  • Two culturally affirming maternity homes have been launched.

  • Four Community Action Teams were created to activate community-level strategies, in tandem with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health efforts to shift toward antiracism in culture and policies.


The AAIMM Prevention Initiative’s extraordinary efforts are demonstrating the power of what is possible when partners share a vision for liberation and an understanding that transforming systems of care - not transforming the behavior of Black families - is needed to change structural racism. 

(c) 2023 Annabel Clark. Photo courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


“In Los Angeles County, Black women die at three to four times the rate of women of other races, and Black babies die at two to three times the rate of infants of any other race before their first birthday,” said Barbara Ferrer, Ph.D., M.P.H., M.Ed., Director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. “This disproportionality in deaths among Black women and Black babies is the result of longstanding unjust policies and practices that leave Black and Brown communities without the resources and power needed for individual and community well-being. AAIMM brings together residents and community leaders to support healthy births for Black families and through their advocacy and leadership, they are addressing the root causes of health inequities. I am grateful that this significant work has been recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.” 

AAIMM is a coalition led by community members with lived experience in partnership with the Department of Public Health, First 5 LA, community organizations, health care providers, funders, and other County departments. AAIMM is united under one purpose: to address the unacceptably high rates of Black infant and maternal deaths countywide and ensure healthy and joyous births for Black families in LA County. 

(c) 2023 Annabel Clark. Photo courtesy of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Partnership within communities is at the heart of the prize, which is awarded to whole cities, towns, tribes, reservations, and counties. Los Angeles County joins eight other 2023 Prize winners, including Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Reservation; Houston, Texas; Ramsey County, Minnesota; Tacoma, Washington; and Zuni Pueblo. 

“The work of our current and past prize winners highlights the real staying power of community-born solutions, and their success inspires greater collaboration across public and private sectors,” said Julie Morita, MD, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation executive vice president. “This year’s winners demonstrate what’s possible when we work in partnership and ensure that community members with lived experience take the lead to identify and dismantle barriers to health and wellbeing.”

As a prize winner, The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health’s AAIMM Prevention Initiative will receive $250,000, national and local promotion of our community’s stories to inspire others, and other opportunities to expand our networks and accelerate progress toward building a healthy community.

To learn more visit  

Taste of Soul Success

Taste of Soul 2023 was a huge success, boasting over 350,000 attendees.

Our AAIMM Village welcomed a new member: the Safe Space Breast/Chestfeeding and Diaper Changing Tent,
which was well-received. 


"It was beautiful seeing the families come in and feed their babies or change their diapers," said Nakeisha Robinson, MA, LMFT, AAIMM clinical consultant. "You could tell they really appreciated the space. It was also really nice to see the happiness when one of the families won the car seat. Our AAIMM team was really strong and present!"


AAIMM distributed over 2,000 pieces of collateral including program fliers, postcards, #BlackDadsMatter and AAIMM Village buttons, tote bags, and Safe Space burp cloths. Car seats were given to families who won a raffle at the booth. During the event, we had 51 new people sign up on our website to join our efforts and special interest was shown to the doula program, and the initiative pages—indicating that website visitors want to learn more and get involved.

Did you miss the event? Take a look at this video recap. And thank you again to everyone who participated in planning, preparing, and staffing AAIMM's 2023 Taste of Soul activation. If we met you at Taste of Soul, welcome to the AAIMM Village!


AAIMM Featured on Stanford's Century Lives Podcast

Season 4 of the award-winning Century Lives podcast investigates a “A Lifetime of Inequality:” the crucial disparities in life expectancy that come as the result of the decisions our society makes—or doesn’t make. Over six episodes, starting in early life and extending across the life course, Century Lives takes a look at the big choices that can have enormous impact on the course of our lives.

As it turns out, a person's lifelong health and longevity take root even before they are born. Preterm birth and low birth weight are connected with a range of medical issues that span the life course—including all-cause mortality. But when it comes to maternal and infant health, complications for Black mothers and babies far surpass other demographics. In Episode 2 of Century Lives: A Lifetime of Inequality, the podcast heads to Los Angeles County to find out why—and to learn how the AAIMM Prevention Initiative  is working fiercely to improve health outcomes for Black mothers and babies. AAIMM's own Dr. Melissa Franklin, MCAH director, Health Promotion Bureau, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is interviewed.

Subscribe to follow the season and listen. 

Upcoming Opportunities...

2024 Health Equity Advocacy Training (HEAT) Program is Now Accepting Applications



Applications are now being accepted for the 2024 Health Equity Advocacy Training (HEAT) Program.

The HEAT Program will organize, train, and empower Black Californians and civic-minded individuals to utilize their collective community capital to persuade legislative decision-makers to implement policies that address health disparities in California. The HEAT Program aims to build a strong coalition of advocacy partners across the state to champion state and local change to advance health equity for Black Californians at the individual, community, and system levels.

The HEAT Program will include subject-matter experts in the legislative process along with prominent health advocates who will discuss and teach the structure of the state government, the legislative process, how to engage in advocacy and build alliances and coalitions to effect policy change at the state level, and how to communicate to policymakers. Participants will have the opportunity to put learning into action through a guided step-by-process to identify key issue(s) that impact the health and well-being of their community, conduct research to identify possible policy solutions, and learn how to communicate persuasively with policymakers to advocate for change.

Applications are due by December 15, 2023. Apply HERE.


Join SLASB's Bi-Monthly Regional Meeting

Do you live in South LA or the South Bay region? Join the South LA/South Bay AAIMM Community Action Team for its bi-monthly regional meeting on Wednesday, November 29 from 10am-12pm and see how you can make a difference in your community for Black infants and families. Click the flier above to register online or contact [email protected] for more information. 

Hope to see you there! 

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