Maternal Health is Important for Everyone

Maternal Health is Important for Everyone

April is National Minority Health Month

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, racial/ethnic disparities exist with regard to these deaths. For example, non-Hispanic black women were more than three times as likely to die as non-Hispanic white women, and non-Hispanic American Indian/Alaska Native women were more than two times as likely to die as non-Hispanic white women, as noted in the GAO Report, March 2020, Maternal Mortality. 

“These racial/ethnic disparities are intolerable, while not the only inequality being faced by these groups, urgent action is required to reduce all health inequities,” said Monica Lallo, Senior Vice President of Prevention, Youth and Education Services. Therefore, we must identify the root causes of infant mortality and morbidity that impact minority women, while developing integrated interventions that will eradicate preventable pregnancy-related deaths. At Acenda, we are developing a comprehensive integrated continuity of care framework within our maternal health programming, with supportive intervention strategies for racial/ethnic minorities to meet the needs of expectant moms and dads in targeted communities.”

Factors that contribute to the disparities in care for minorities during pregnancy include:
  • Lower economic status 
  • Poor access to care 
  • Poor eating habits 
  • Underlying medical conditions 
  • Mental health and substance use disorders 
Acenda offers a number of programs for women and their partners as a way to ensure the best health outcomes pre- and post-pregnancy: 
african american mother reading book to her infant son
  • Healthy Families serves families living in Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties and provides in-home education and supportive services to new and expectant parents through the child’s 3rd birthday. Home visitors work to link parents to existing social service and health care resources, and promote positive parenting and healthy child growth and development. 
  • Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) pairs first-time moms with a personal registered nurse to ensure the best possible pregnancy outcome, the best health and development of the baby, and to help link mom to community resources. Moms can keep the service until their child’s 2nd birthday. NFP is currently offered through Acenda in Atlantic, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester, and Salem counties.
  • Parents as Teachers provides health and parenting education and supportive services to families. Home Visitors educate families on prenatal health, infant/child health and development, positive parenting practices, nurturing parent-child relationships, child safety, and education and employment. Parents as Teachers services can last until the child is about to enter kindergarten and are available to Gloucester and Salem County residents.
  • Family Success Centers offer community-based, family-centered neighborhood gathering places where community residents go for family support, interactive workshops, activities, and groups. The centers work with our maternal health programs in addition to partnering with outside agencies including South Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, pediatricians offices and hospitals systems, doulas and breastfeeding advocates.
  • FamCare offers affordable family planning NJ services for men, women and teens, including a variety of birth control methods, and pregnancy and STI testing. All reproductive healthcare services are confidential and the program is LGBT friendly.

“One of the most important aspects of our maternal health programming is that these services are provided at no cost to participants,” added Dr. Lallo. “As part of our ongoing efforts is to make our communities aware, with an emphasis our minority populations, that Acenda is here to support your families, especially when navigating their specific challenges within the health care system.” 

To learn more about our maternal health programs, please call 856-431-4180 to speak with a Central Intake Specialist. 

National Institute for Children's Health Quality
UNC School of Medicine — Center for Maternal and Infant Health