Healthy Start & Title V

Healthy Start & Title V work together to reduce Infant Mortality in Baltimore

Baltimore City Healthy Start, Inc (BCHSI), a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation, was established by the Baltimore City Health Department in 1991 to administer the planning and implementation of the only federally funded Healthy Start program in the State of Maryland.

When Alma Roberts became President and CEO of the BCHSI in 2006, she realized that expansion of Healthy Start services was critical for the viability of the organization and the surrounding community in order to improve the worsening birth outcomes in Baltimore. As a result of the strategic plan of the organization, BCHSI embarked on progress to enhance and expand the Healthy Start targeted case management model service delivery to vulnerable pregnant, postpartum and interconceptional women and their families in the Baltimore area by:

  • Diversifying funding opportunities for new services/service areas and to ensure project sustainability;
  • Increasing advocacy for families and public awareness surrounding the issue of infant mortality reduction;
  • Enhancing visibility and recognition of Baltimore City Healthy Start among funders; and
  • Improving data collection to better identify those who can benefit from Healthy Start programs.

To date, Title V (the Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene - Center for Maternal and Child Health) has played a major role in the expansion of services for the BCHSI, from planning stages through implementation. As a result of Title V funding, a qualitative and quantitative needs assessment was conducted in Baltimore City. The qualitative assessment was comprised of 10 focus groups, which culminated in a town hall meeting where citizens had an opportunity to refine the expansion process. The quantitative assessment focused on 4 West Baltimore communities which had very low birth weight rates and each community was assessed by 44 social, economic, and health related variables.

Following the completion of the needs assessments, a 1,000 page report was presented to Title V, which included a detailed plan on how to expand Healthy Start services in Baltimore. The critical findings of this report called for the opening of four community- based satellite offices and operating a medical/dental mobile unit. Title V is committed to seeing Healthy Start move forward and agreed to fund the opening of the four community-based satellite Healthy Start offices, in total $457,000 (including the needs assessment). Title V has also opened the door for BCHSI to reapply for the funding for the community-based satellite offices in subsequent years.

BCHSI is excited to announce that the satellite offices will be open for operation in September 2008 and the grand opening for the offices will be in October 2008. With the opening of these four community-based satellite offices, this gives access to 200 more extremely low-income women and gives BCHSI the opportunity to expand services across the core of Baltimore’s inner city and underserved communities. With the addition of the mobile unit in early 2009 year, an additional 1,000 women will be served.

For more details about the Baltimore City Healthy Start, please contact Alma Roberts, MPH, FACHE President/CEO, BCHSI via e-mail at or visit the BCHSI website at


Healthy Start and Title V double the capacity to serve pregnant women in Wichita, Kansas

The Sedgwick County Health Department’s Healthy Babies program in Wichita, KS, is the only home visitation program in the county with the sole mission of improving birth outcomes. Healthy Babies focuses on reaching at-risk pregnant women to provide access to:

  • prenatal care;
  • education;
  • depression, domestic violence, and substance abuse screening;
  • community resources and referrals;
  • nutrition counseling;
  • tobacco and alcohol counseling; and
  • personal encouragement.

Healthy Babies has various funding sources and serves moms in all zip codes in Sedgwick County. The federal Healthy Start portion of the Healthy Babies program is referred to as the Northeast Wichita Healthy Start Initiative (NEWHSI). NEWHSI targets moms in three zip codes in northeast Wichita that have higher than normal rates of premature and LBW births and infant deaths, especially among African American moms. Based on three-year rolling averages, the overall Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in one of the three targeted NEWHSI zip codes, 67214, has steadily risen since 1998 and the IMR for 2004-2006 was 23.18 infant deaths per 1,000 live births, far from the Healthy People 2010 goal of 4.5 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. The 2004-2006 African American IMR for 67214 was 27.42 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.

However, for the NEWHSI grant reporting period 2004-2006, the IMR for NEWHSI clients residing in 67214 remained at 0.00 (see graph below). NEWHSI attributes these positive outcomes to the relationship that has been formed between Healthy Babies and their state Title V partner, the Bureau of Family Health at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE), which has enabled the Healthy Babies program to double its capacity to offer home visitation services to pregnant and postpartum women.

To build on that partnership, Healthy Babies recently partnered with KDHE and their sister Healthy Start site in Kansas City Kansas/Missouri (KCHS), to form a Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) Quality Assurance Project. This project will help to develop a greater understanding of the social and health issues related to pregnancy outcomes and infant mortality. The FIMR project will be completed in Sedgwick and Wyandotte Counties, and will specifically look at birth outcomes in the federally-funded Healthy Start zip codes in those counties. Data collected will be analyzed to determine the underlying causes of infant deaths in order to develop more effective preventive measures.

Click here to view the data table.                                                                                  

NEWHSI grant data provided by NEWHSI (Healthy Babies)
All other data provided by KDHE Office of Vital Statistics