Access Work Group Provides Grant to Improve Birth Outcomes

The Winter Park Health Foundation Access Work Group has authorized a $60,000 grant to Common Sense Childbirth, Inc. (CSC) to offer prenatal services provided at their midwifery clinic and birthing center. It serves a predominantly African-American population at risk for delaying prenatal care due to lack of resources or support.

These women have traditionally had poorer birth outcomes. Despite substantial reductions in U.S. infant mortality during the past several decades, black-white disparities in infant mortality rates persist. One of the Healthy People 2010 national objectives for maternal and infant health is to reduce deaths among infants younger than one year to less than 4.5 per 1,000 live births among all racial/ethnic groups.

According to the Health Council of East Central Florida, an evaluation partner on the project, maternal and child health outcomes for the black population in Orange County fall far short of these goals. Infant mortality rates for black babies are double that of white babies born in Orange County. Karen van Caulil, Executive Director of the Health Council, reported that in the past year, only one of the 100 births to mothers who were patients of CSC, doing business as The Birth Place, was a Low Birth Weight (LBW) baby. This one percent rate compares very favorably to the 13.3% LBW rate for black babies in Orange County during the past three years.

The model of care provided through this program is holistic and comprehensive, offering encouragement and support to the women and their families and friends while encouraging them to come together as a team focused on one thing – a healthy baby brought to term. The model will be documented by the Health Council staff during the next year for duplication at the Primary Care Access Network (PCAN) clinics.

CSC is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1998 to enhance women’s experiences with childbirth, and improve outcomes using a midwifery model of care. CSC provides an outreach clinic to help offset the overall shortage of obstetrical providers and lack of midwives in the targeted areas.

The WPHF Access Work Group provided an additional $15,000 to the Health Council so it can document these best practices and work to duplicate the best practices in the PCAN clinics in Orange County.