America has a crisis in African American infant and maternal health, as highlighted in this recent piece from the New York Times.
Chronic stress, societal racism, and challenges around access to health care come together to create an environment in which black women are 3 to 4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than their white counterparts. This crisis affects their infants too—in San Francisco, Black babies die at three times the rate of the general population in the first year of life.
As part of Metta’s alignment with the San Francisco Health Improvement Partnership (SFHIP), we are endeavoring to reduce the 8.4 percent of pregnant moms who are food insecure in our city. This is an important project as food insecurity affects maternal and child health and is associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications and preterm birth. In conjunction with other efforts in San Francisco focused on this population, such as the Preterm Birth Initiative, Metta Fund is convening stakeholders by way of lead agency Homeless Prenatal Program, to align and focus on solving hunger and removing barriers to accessing healthy foods for pregnant and post-partum mothers.
In addition to supporting cross-sector collaboration, Metta Fund has also partnered with San Francisco Black Infant Health, who used Metta grant resources to develop a program that goes beyond the traditional model of the statewide California Black Infant Health Program. The enhancement includes: nutrition education and discussion about healthy food options; financial empowerment related to household budgeting and opportunities to augment resources through CalFresh and EatSF; as well as practical skills on navigating grocery stores and farmers markets. We are delighted to support the advancement of this programming.