The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is one of five recipients of the 2015 through 2017 March of Dimes California Chapter Community Grant designed to close the health inequities gap and improve infant health by reducing the occurrence of birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality. The three-year grant total is $110,430; and the DHHS will be awarded $26,492 in the final year of the grant.
"Long Beach strives to be at the forefront of preventative health strategies," said Mayor Robert Garcia. “This March of Dimes grant enables us to continue supporting the health and well-being of our community, particularly the most vulnerable residents.”
The March of Dimes California Chapter selected grantees to develop projects that increase and enhance prenatal care, improve women's health in order to maximize their chances of delivering healthy babies, and improve screening and diagnosis of heart birth defects.
The awarded project, Destined for Greatness, is a collaboration between the DHHS and the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Psychology Department. The goals of the project are to decrease depression and increase positive coping skills that include the use of relaxation, awareness of tension, and being assertive, in order to have a positive impact on mental health and chronic disease, with the ultimate outcome of reduced incidences of low birth-weight and premature births.
Destined for Greatness is an adjunct to the DHHS Black Infant Health (BIH) program, which has been funded by the California Department of Public Health since 1990, to address high rates of infant mortality.
“As we approach our final year of the March of Dimes grant for Destined for Greatness, we are optimistic about continuing our collaboration with the CSULB Psychology Department and other community partners by seeking funding to continue providing this program to women in Long Beach,” said Gwendolyn Robinson Manning, Black Infant Health Coordinator for the DHHS.
The BIH program empowers African American women to build resilience and reduce stress by making healthy life choices for themselves and their families. Currently, the BIH Program serves approximately 120 women and their children per year. BIH achieves this by connecting participants to education, medical, social and mental health services, including post graduate enrollment into the Destined for Greatness program.
“We can make an immediate difference in the lives of babies and their moms when we provide funds to community-based or statewide projects that have the potential to improve birth outcomes and reduce premature birth rates, especially among high-risk groups,” said Kelly Ernst, MPH, March of Dimes Vice President of Maternal Child Health. “The March of Dimes has invested in community programs for more than 70 years. While we proudly fund innovative research in many of California’s leading educational institutions, research takes time. Our community programs can generate results quickly, which we can then share state-wide and nationally, significantly increasing the impact.”
The other 2015 through 2017 March of Dimes California Chapter Community Grant recipients include Alameda County Department of Public Health; Alameda Health System; Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital; and the Los Angeles Special Service for Groups, Families & Criminal Justice Division.About March of Dimes
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs.
For the latest resources and health information, visit marchofdimes.org
. To participate in the annual signature fundraising event, visit marchforbabies.org
. If you have been affected by prematurity or birth defects, visit the shareyourstory.org
community to find comfort and support. For detailed national, state and local perinatal statistics, visit peristats.org
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.About Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services
The mission of the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is to improve quality of life by promoting a safe and healthy community in which to live, work and play. Long Beach Health is one of only three city-run health departments in California, which allows for better engagement with residents, neighborhoods, businesses and community partners, and fosters a greater understanding of the City's strengths. For more information, visit us at www.longbeach.gov/health
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