America’s maternal mortality rates are among the highest in the developed world, and they are especially high among Black women and Native American women— regardless of their income or education levels. HRSA is making these key investments through the following maternal and child health programs:
- The Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program: The MIECHV program is awarding $342 million in funding to 56 states, jurisdictions, and nonprofit organizations. Building upon the $40 million in emergency home visiting funds awarded through the American Rescue Plan in May 2021, these funds will support communities to provide critical services. Home visitors provide pregnancy education, parenting skill-building, and even offer supplies such as diapers, wipes and hand sanitizers. They also help families secure food, housing and other support services. Decades of scientific research show that home visiting programs are effective and evidence-based programs that make a difference for the families and communities they serve.
- The Healthy Start Initiative: The Healthy Start initiative supports communities where the infant mortality rate is 1.5 times the national average. By working with women during pregnancy and after giving birth, these projects help reduce infant death and severe maternal illness. Every Healthy Start project has a Community Action Network composed of neighborhood residents, community leaders, consumers, medical and social service providers, faith-based leaders, and business representatives who know their community’s needs best. This supplemental funding in particular supports:
- Community-Based Doulas: More than $3 million in supplemental funding has been awarded to 25 Healthy Start grantees to increase the availability of doulas. Funding will cover the costs of training, certifying, and compensating doulas. Research shows that doulas support better health outcomes.
- Infant Health Equity: More than $1.6 million in supplemental funding has been awarded to 21 Healthy Start grantees to help reduce disparities in infant mortality in regional areas with the highest numbers of non-Hispanic Black or non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native infant deaths. Awardees will use the funding to create local action plans with data-driven policy and strategies. These plans will incorporate input from community members, consumers, and participants tailored to the unique needs of their populations. The expectation is that these strategies will look beyond the medical factors of health outcomes to address conditions that affect infant mortality disparities in their counties, such as poverty, education, housing, and nutrition.
- State Systems Developmental Initiative (SSDI): Approximately $600,000 in supplemental funding has been awarded to 10 grantees already participating in the SSDI program. The supplemental funding will expand the capacity of states and jurisdictions to collect and report timely, high quality maternal health data to support health care quality improvement activities, with a specific focus on the collection and use of data on race, ethnicity, and social determinants of health.
The South Dakota Department of Health received $987,632 for FY 2021 Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program.