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Maternal, Child, & Adolescent Health


MCAH Programs

Contact Information
Los Angeles County
Department of Public Health
Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health Programs
600 S. Commonwealth Ave., 8th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90005
Tel: (213) 639-6400
FAX: (213) 639-1034
Black Infant Health (BIH) Program


The Black Infant Health Program (BIH) was created at the State level as a result of California Senate Bill 165 of the Budget Act of 1989. The bill was enacted to address the high rate of infant mortality for African American families. (In 1989, the infant mortality rate for African Americans in California was 19.2 deaths for every 1,000 live births.) Los Angeles County was among the first health jurisdictions to receive funding from the State to implement a culturally specific perinatal intervention aimed at reducing the African American infant mortality rate.

Program Description

Currently, Los Angeles County's Department of Public Health has five subcontractors (for contact information click on the link below) implementing the BIH perinatal interventions, Prenatal Care Outreach and Social Support and Empowerment. Using a street-based outreach strategy in Prenatal Care Outreach, community health outreach workers (CHOWs) identify pregnant and parenting African American women (18 years of age and older) and promote BIH as a unique program designed to address African American infant mortality and to improve the health status of African American families. Throughout enrollment in the program, clients receive positive support, continuous encouragement, home visits, referrals to family supportive services, health education, and several invitations to attend activities that celebrate good health in a cultural context. Along with the outreach intervention, some (space is limited) clients will also enroll in Social Support and Empowerment. In this classroom-style intervention, clients attend eight class sessions that are designed to increase self-awareness and self-esteem via facilitated group discussions, peer support, and personal skills-building.

Health Problem

African American infants in California are more than twice as likely to die during their first year of life in comparison to other infants. (The infant mortality rate for African American in 1999 was 12.9 deaths per 1,000 live births compared to statewide rate of 5.4 deaths per 1,000 live births.)


To eliminate the health disparity for African American infants.


  1. To reduce African American infant mortality through a comprehensive community based effort by assuring that at risk pregnant and parenting women and their infants and children up to age two have access to quality maternal and child health services
  2. To increase the number of African American women obtaining prenatal care in the first trimester
  3. To reduce the number of African American infants born with birth weights below 2,500 grams (5.5 lbs)
  4. To reduce the number of African American women who smoke, use alcohol, and/or non-prescription drugs during pregnancy
  5. To reduce the number of African American babies who die due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
  6. To reduce African American maternal mortality


  • Provide care coordination and follow up to assure timely access to health care services
  • Conduct social support and empowerment classes
  • Provide health education information about issues impacting mothers and infants
  • Hold an annual "Celebrate Healthy Babies" event
  • Coordinate with providers to improve a client's prenatal care, lifestyle choices, and incidence of premature birth
  • Collaborate with other entities to develop and strengthen community relationships and to solicit input on culturally appropriate strategies to reduce African American infant mortality

General Program Eligibility (*18 years of age and older)

  • Pregnant African American women*
  • African American women* parenting a biological child 18 months of age or younger
  • The woman must live in the designated service area - to see the service areas, please click on the Los Angeles County BIH Community Based Organization Contractors link below
Program Factsheet


Los Angeles County Black Infant Health Program (BIH) brochure

Black Infant Health Programs Directory
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