May 30, 2008

First federally funded Healthy Start Project of San Diego celebrates one year of service to pregnant women

Project Concern International and other key stakeholders from more than 35 clinics, hospitals, and county and community organizations, will convened at the Malcolm X Library, on May 28, to celebrate California Border Healthy Start Project’s one year of service to pregnant women.

Awarded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, the four-year California Border Healthy Start Project is one of only two such awards made in 2007. The National Healthy Start Program is currently funding 98 projects in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. San Diego’s program will improve the health of low-income pregnant women, mothers, and their babies, in Southeast San Diego, Mid-City, Central San Diego, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and National City, areas that represent the highest levels of poverty and poor birth outcomes in San Diego County.

Targeted underserved populations in San Diego County have substantially less access to quality health care than the rest of the county. African American infants in the project area are twice as likely to die as their counterparts in the US general population.

The project in the past year has served the area’s pregnant women with the use of patient navigators, community outreach workers and doulas (lay birth companions). The navigators serve to improve follow-up through case management for both mother and child through 2 years of age.

“We believe that this project will enable San Diego to become a model for increasing access to perinatal care and services for those who need them most,” said Hilda Araiza, a project partner working with Community Benefits at the Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista Wellness Center.

Project Concern International programming partners include: San Diego County HHSA Maternal, Child and Family Health Services Branch; UCSD Medical Center including the UCSD Volunteer Doula Program, UCSD Midwifery Services and community health clinics; Scripps Mercy Hospital; Family Health Centers of San Diego; La Maestra Community Clinic; National Medical Association; Comprehensive Health Center; San Diego Family Care; and Best Start Birth Center; among others.

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