(Washington, DC) Today, during Black Maternal Health Week, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that this year’s National Maternal and Infant Health Summit will take place on Thursday, September 15. Additionally, today, Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of DC Health, and Jennifer Porter, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy and Initiatives (MOWPI), joined community leaders at Mamatoto Village in Ward 7 to highlight how the Bowser Administration is working with community-based organizations to support moms, babies, and families in DC. The Mayor’s Fiscal Year Fair Shot budget includes more than $3.4 million specifically for programs and services that support new and expectant mothers, including home visit, pre-term, and lactation services.
“The issue of how we support healthy moms, healthy babies, and healthy families is one that we must be focused on year round,” said Mayor Bowser. “We know that, too often, pregnancy and childbirth is a scary experience for Black moms and their families – that is why we started our annual Maternal and Infant Health Summit in 2018. As we continue to invest in solutions focused on the needs of DC residents, we’re grateful for our community partners that are making sure moms and babies are getting the right care at the right time and making families in DC feel seen and heard.”
Mamatoto’s Perinatal Health Worker Training (PHWT) program prepares women to serve within their own communities. Women receiving training through the PHWT program are uniquely positioned to serve the perinatal community in a myriad of capacities including direct perinatal care and support, advocacy and policy engagement, entry level social work and public health careers. Mamatoto has provided labor and postpartum support, breastfeeding assistance, access to essential maternity and postpartum mother and baby supplies, and mental health support for 312 families. The organization has also trained 22 individuals to support women in their communities and prepare them for entry level social work and public health careers.
“There is novel innovation happening in DC to support District families in the areas of community and maternal health,” said Jennifer Porter, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office on Women’s Policy & Initiatives. “DC Health, community health leaders and organizations like Mamatoto Village are working together to make sure these programs are sustainable and community led for the advancement of Black maternal health.”
Dr. Nesbitt and Executive Director Porter also highlighted programs and services that are currently available to families in DC, including:
DC Healthy Start Program
The DC Healthy Start Program (DCHS) aims to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy by improving women’s and family health and wellness. Through Mary’s Center and Community of Hope, the DCHS program provides services to women, parents (including fathers) and infants up to 18 months of age residing in Wards 5, 7, and 8 of the District. You can find more information by visiting dchealth.dc.gov/service/dc-healthy-start, calling 1-800-MOM-BABY (1-800-666-2229), or emailing [email protected].
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC)
WIC offers DC residents who are either pregnant or have a child 5 or younger, free healthy food and nutrition education, immunization assessment and screening, breastfeeding resources and support referrals for additional care. For more information, contact (202) 442-5925 or visit dchealth.dc.gov/service/special-supplemental-nutrition-program-women-infants-and-children.
Help Me Grow DC (HMG DC)
HMG DC is for pregnant moms and families with children living in DC ages 0-5 years old. The program offers mothers and expectant mothers a place to learn about and identify developmental and/or behavioral concerns and then be connected to community-based developmental and behavioral services and supports. If you are concerned about a child's development or are an expecting mother, contact 1-800-MOM-BABY (1-800-666-2229) and speak with a care coordinator or visit dchealth.dc.gov/service/help-me-grow-dc.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed)
SNAP-Ed offers free nutrition and obesity prevention program for youth and adults. For more information, contact (202) 442-5925 or visit dchealth.dc.gov/service/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program-education. To Obtain a Birth Certificate contact (202) 442-9303 or visit dchealth.dc.gov/vital-records.
Earlier this year, Mayor Bowser also announced a new $1.5 million direct cash transfer pilot program, Strong Families, Strong Future DC, to support maternal health and advance economic mobility in DC. The nonprofit organization Martha’s Table will implement the program, which will provide $900 per month for one year to 132 new and expectant mothers in Wards 5, 7, and 8.
Founded and led by the Black Mamas Matter Alliance, Black Maternal Health Week is a week of awareness, activism, and community building that takes place every year from April 11-17. Mayor Bowser launched the annual Maternal and Infant Health Summit in 2018 as an opportunity to bring together elected officials, health experts, and community members to have a focused conversation regarding perinatal health and racial disparities in birth outcomes.