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$1.4M grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation for Best Babies Zone Technical Assistance Center

News for 07.14.16
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University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health Receives $1.4M Grant to Support Organizations Addressing the Root Causes of Infant Mortality

Berkeley, California (July 14, 2016) – The University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health announced today that it has received a $1.4M grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. This three-year grant will launch the Best Babies Zone (BBZ) Technical Assistance Center, which will help communities increase the number of infants who make it to their first birthday by increasing the capacity of organizations and community residents to address interrelated social determinants of health.

Despite recent declines in U.S. infant mortality rates, African American infants are still twice as likely to die as White infants. Clinical interventions like prenatal or neonatal care are not enough to reduce this gap, and there is growing recognition that factors like economic stability, educational opportunity, chronic exposure to stress, and racism play a critical role in these disparities.

The BBZ Technical Assistance Center builds on the lessons learned from three pilot BBZs in Cincinnati, OH; Oakland, CA; and New Orleans, LA, which were launched in 2012 with an initial $2.75M grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. In these three cities, organizations and residents have been working together within small neighborhoods to address the social determinants of health. Early successes in these three zones include:

  • Collaborating with partners to ensure that zone residents have access to evidence-based programs like home visiting, parent education, and breastfeeding support
  • Hiring community residents in each zone to guide the direction and implementation of BBZ activities
  • Creating innovative programs to address resident concerns, including a community market that supports local entrepreneurs and a parent support group that emphasizes advocacy

Now, the BBZ Technical Assistance Center will support more organizations who want to make similar strides. By facilitating a learning community for the first cohort of zones and an additional three zones, the BBZ Technical Assistance Center will support shared learning that will help organizations engage residents around the issue of infant mortality and develop cross-sector partnerships and programs that ensure that every baby has the best chance in life.

To see the full press release click here.