HHS awards $65 million in Healthy Start grants to reduce infant mortality

September 2, 2014

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell today released $65 million in grants to help 87 organizations in 33 states reduce high infant mortality rates and other health problems related to pregnancy and mothers’ health.

Healthy Start is targeted to the needs of vulnerable mothers and infants in areas of the country with disproportionately high rates of infant mortality. Twenty-two of these awardees serve rural communities, four will serve the United States-Mexico border, and three programs will serve a predominately Native American population. Also, 22 organizations will be using these funds to create Healthy Start programs for the first time.

“These funds will help to empower pregnant women by giving them the resources they need to improve their own health and the health of their babies,” said Secretary Burwell. “More than 56,000 women and children will benefit from these services.”

The Healthy Start program, which is managed by HHS’ Health Resources and Services Administration, began in 1991 but has been redesigned to use evidence-based strategies and to improve program performance. Applicants for this grant cycle were required to design programs around five key strategies that have been found to reduce health disparities and adverse perinatal outcomes. All grantees are required to undertake specific activities under each strategy:

  • Improve women’s health, with a focus on access to care
  • Promote quality services
  • Strengthen family resilience
  • Achieve collective community impact
  • Increase program accountability

“This transformation of Healthy Start will help communities with high infant mortality rates work more effectively to improve maternal health and birth outcomes.” said Mary Wakefield, Ph.D., R.N., administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

For a list of awardees, visit: http://www.hrsa.gov/about/news/2014tables/healthystart/

To learn more about HRSA’s Healthy Start Program, visit http://mchb.hrsa.gov/programs/healthystart/index.html