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Black Infant Health Program (BIH) Fact Sheet

MO-07-0005 BIH

Program Overview

  • Twenty session group intervention (10 sessions prenatally, 10 sessions postpartum) with complementary case management
  • Designed to encourage and support a healthy pregnancy and women’s health
  • Builds upon client’s strengths to enrich them, their families and their community by empowering them to make healthy decisions
  • Culturally relevant and honors the unique history and traditions of people of African American descent
  • Information included is important to African American women
  • All program activities were developed specifically to move towards closing the gap in Black-White health disparities


  • Empower women, build resilience and reduce stress
  • Promote healthy behaviors to support health, wellness and relationships
  • Promote healthy relationships and enhance bonding and parenting skills
  • Connect women with medical, social, economic and mental health services
  • Engage communities to raise community awareness and mobilize community action to support BIH efforts and improve conditions for African-American women and their families


  • Health disparities affecting African-American women and babies appear to be less dependent on age, economic status, or education than for women of other racial or ethnic groups. Poor birth outcomes persist even when African American women have a pregnancy at an optimal age, have high income, or are well educated.
  • African-American babies are twice as likely to be born with a low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) than infants of other racial or ethnic groups.
  • African-American babies are more than 1 and ½ times more likely to be born prematurely than White babies.
  • African-American women are 4 times more likely to experience life threatening health complications from pregnancy than White women.

Program Activities

Program activities are based on the findings from a comprehensive assessment of the BIH Program.  The assessment was conducted by the University of California, San Francisco Center on Social Disparities and Health. According to their findings, recent research suggests that poor birth outcomes for African American women are due to health and social conditions across the life course, not just during pregnancy. As a result, a key recommendation from the assessment was to provide one standardized program, based on current science, across all BIH sites to support more effective program evaluation.

MCAH staff in collaboration with UCSF and outside stakeholders developed a group intervention which includes 10 prenatal sessions and 10 postpartum sessions The group sessions offer fun and interesting activities from a women’s health perspective that are intended to explore pregnancy-related (prenatal group sessions) and newborn parent-related (postpartum group sessions) topics as well as personal empowerment skills. In addition to the group intervention, complementary case management services are provided to all BIH clients.

Case management services include:

  • An Individual Care Plan (ICP) which identifies clients’ goals, strengths, needs, barriers.
  • Referrals for prenatal, interconception, pediatric, and mental health care; substance abuse treatment; and social service and educational needs.
  • Case conferencing to monitor the progress clients have made in achieving the goals identified in their ICPs.

Who Benefits

Pregnant and parenting African American women benefit from the program by becoming empowered to make positive choices in their life, not only for themselves, but for their families and communities. Ultimately, this will impact future generations of African American women, infants and their families.

Who Provides Services

Services are provided by BIH staff located in 15 local health jurisdictions where over 75% percent of African-American infant births and infant deaths occur. To locate assistance in your area, please see our BIH Coordinator Directory.


Federal Title V MCH Block Grant Funds, Federal Title XIX (Medicaid) Funds. The Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program administers the BIH Program.

Last modified on: 11/10/2011 3:28 PM