HLC Newsletter

Maternal and Infant Health Coalition Receives National Healthcare Award from Health Industry Leaders

Healthcare Leadership Council Honors Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative with the Redefining American Healthcare Award 

LOS ANGELES, CA – The Healthcare Leadership Council (HLC) honored the Los Angeles County African American Infant and Maternal Mortality (AAIMM) Prevention Initiative with its Redefining American Healthcare Award at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Wednesday, April 12th.

The AAIMM Prevention Initiative is a countywide coalition dedicated to addressing the disproportionately high rates of Black infant and maternal deaths and ensuring healthy and joyous births for Black families in L.A. County. The AAIMM Initiative implements a variety of evidence-based programs such as Preconception Health, Group Prenatal Care, Fatherhood Initiative, the Village Fund, and doula program. The AAIMM doula program features 14 African American/Black doulas — trained professionals who provide physical, emotional and informational support to a laboring person and/or family before, continuously during, and after childbirth to help them achieve the healthiest, most satisfying experience possible.

Dr. Muntu Davis, LA County Health Officer, accepted the award, saying, “A Black infant born in Los Angeles County is more than two times likely to die in the first year of life than any other infant.  A black person giving birth in Los Angeles is more than four times likely to die due to pregnancy related causes.  These tragic disparities as experienced by the Black community and confirmed in public health data are not news.  Black community organizations and public health and clinical partners have sought to reverse inequality in birth outcomes for decades.  So why does AAIMM give us cause for hope?

Two critical features of the African American Infant and Maternal Mortality Prevention Initiative set it apart from that history.  The first is AAIMM’s explicit focus on racism, linking social experience to birth outcomes to create broad and effective programming.  The second is AAIMM’s explicit mission to serve as a big tent, bringing together, partnering with, and drawing from the strengths of public and private groups to achieve a common goal of birth equity in the County.  We are deeply grateful for this gratifying award, and we are committed to continuing the work it recognizes until that goal is achieved.”

“How U.S. society is structured directly impacts the health of African American babies and their mothers,” said Debbie Witchey, executive vice president and chief operating officer at HLC. “Through the Perinatal Equity Initiative and doula program, AAIMM is ensuring the mental, emotional and physical health of Black mothers is prioritized and their infants come into this world in the healthiest manner possible. The Community Action Teams are an integral part of embedding this vital work into locally based actions.”

“The high rates of Black maternal mortality are staggering and must be addressed,” said Representative Sydney Kamlager-Dove, who provided a statement for the ceremony and a Certificate of Congressional Recognition. “We must stand up for Black women and their families to ensure they are receiving the care they deserve. LA County’s Department of Public Health’s initiative on African American Infant and Maternal Mortality is an amazing step toward creating safe spaces for Black women and putting community-based and holistic care first. I congratulate them on their amazing work for the Los Angeles community and support them in their continued efforts to address health inequities.”

The Healthcare Leadership Council created the Redefining American Healthcare Award to recognize best practices and programs in communities and organizations across the nation that optimize care for vulnerable patients. Award recipients are organizations developing and activating cost-effective, measurable community programs promoting a patient-centered approach to care that considers outside social factors to achieve the best outcomes.


For Immediate Release: April 14, 2023
Contact: Kelly Fernandez, (202) 449-3452