Increase access to quality healthcare for African American women across the lifespan including interconception care, preconception care, quality prenatal care, and healthcare throughout the life course. Enhance family and community systems with strategies such as strengthening father involvement, systems integration, increasing reproductive social capital, and community building. Address social and economic inequities through closing the education gap, reducing poverty, and supporting working mothers. A life course approach which addresses both early life disadvantages and cumulative and chronic stress should be employed. It is necessary to look beyond behavior and the biomedical model to address inequities that underlie health disparities.
Programs that are working in other communities:
African-American maternal and child health program that encourages better birth outcomes by providing support to women during pregnancy and for one year after birth. Aims to assist local communities in improving health status by addressing the systemic causes, including lack of education, lack of social justice, and economic disparities compounded by institutional political and personal barriers. Birthing Projects actively engage community residents in identifying their needs; implementing and evaluating services; and working collaboratively with other agencies, organizations and individuals. Also provides guidance and support to fathers. The Birthing Project concept has grown into a nationally recognized model which has been replicated in more than 90 communities.