Black Infant Health

Since 2010, the Black Infant Health Program has helped to increase healthy births in our community.

With the support of 28 local African American churches and other organizations, this unique community partnership educates pregnant women about prenatal care and child rearing, provides outreach and referral to First Steps services, and helps with basic needs such as housing, food, transportation, clothing and baby items.

Why focus on black infant health?Black Infant

While infant health is improving nationally, in Pierce County, black infants have disproportionate health risks. Infant mortality — an important health indicator showing the death rate of babies less than one year old — is at tragic proportions among black infants in our community.

From 2011-2013, black infants in our county had the highest mortality rate — 8.9 deaths per 1,000 live births — twice as high as the rate for white infants and 1.7 times higher than the overall rate for the county. The rate of black preterm births and low birth weight also is higher than other groups. (Infant Mortality in Pierce County, March 2015).

Eliminating health disparities for black infants is a goal at the local, state and national levels.

Improving black infant health also supports Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s vision for Healthy People in Healthy Communities. And it speaks to increasing our community’s health equity, which is the opportunity for every individual to attain their full health potential.How does the Black Infant Health Program work?

How does the Black Infant Health Program work?

The program relies heavily on a Health Ministry model, which includes a network of churches and community organizations, church pastors, Health Ministers and public health nurses. The Health Ministers personally connect with pregnant women and families from their congregations and community who could benefit from one-on-one intervention and social support.

Because of the dedication and commitment of the Health Ministers and the Black Infant Health Program, families in Pierce County are learning to live healthier lives.

How do I get involved?

For more information about the Black Infant Health Program, contact Lea Johnson, (253) 798-3595.