šŸ’¼ Local Business Spotlight: Healthy Start Pittsburgh

A group of people pick up trash on a sunny day.

This inaugural business spotlight is sponsored by Healthy Start Pittsburgh. TheirĀ 2022 Maternal and Child Health GalaĀ takes place May 19. Info, tickets, sponsorship opportunities and more are available onĀ Healthy Startā€™s website, and you can find them onĀ FacebookĀ andĀ Instagram.

Please describe your organization. What do you do and how do you do it?

Our goal at Healthy Start Pittsburgh is to improve health for women and babies by making sure all families have access to affordable, quality maternal and child health care in their communities. Our mission is to improve maternal and child health and to reduce poor birth outcomes and infant mortality. To do this, we provide community-based programs like one-on-one prenatal care, education, and mental health supports to new parents in their homes.

Beyond direct services, Healthy Start thinks big. We advocate for system-wide changes, like the expansion of Medicaid and paid leave for all parents. We also know we canā€™t do this work alone, so we partner with community members, other nonprofits, and government agencies to reduce infant mortality in Allegheny County.

What inspires your work and what sets you apart from everyone else?

Community is at the center of the Healthy Start model. We are inspired to work collectively toward a society where everyone has the opportunity for optimum health and wellbeing, despite race, economic status, or zip code.

Something unique about us is ourĀ Community Health Advocacy program, a paid 8-week training for single, Black mothers who are passionate about maternal and child health. So far, 52 participants have graduated from the program and gone on to support local health efforts such as creating theĀ Wilkinsburg Walking PathĀ to increase physical activity and reduce hypertension.

What other organizations are you inspired by?

We are inspired by other organizations working for health and racial equity such asĀ New Voices,Ā March of Dimes, and theĀ Black Mamas Matter Alliance.

A mother holds a smiling baby in front of a painting of a mother and child.

Tell us about any programming/events you have coming up.

On May 19, we are celebrating 30 Years Strong at our annualĀ Maternal and Child Health Gala! This night of community, compassion, and celebration will include live music, a silent auction with donated local goodies, a formal seated dinner, and a keynote presentation by actor and maternal health advocate Tatyana Ali.Ā TicketsĀ are on sale until Friday and weā€™d love to see you there!

Whatā€™s your biggest challenge? How can Pittsburghers help?

Our biggest challenges include:

  • Black babies in Allegheny County die before the age of one at a rate overĀ five timesĀ that of white babies.
  • Black women and birthing people in Allegheny County haveĀ over twiceĀ the proportion of low birth weight babies compared to white women and birthing people.
  • Black women in Pittsburgh die from pregnancy and childbirth related complications at a rate higher thanĀ 97 percentĀ of similar cities.

Pittsburghers can:

  • DonateĀ to Healthy Start and other culturally-responsive community organizations
  • Advocate by familiarizing yourself with family supporting legislation such as theĀ Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act, postpartum Medicaid expansion, and the Family Care Act.
  • Vote in local elections for people and policies that center our moms and babies.

What would you like to see change in Pittsburgh?

We envision a Pittsburgh where all babies have the opportunity to thrive. OurĀ Allegheny County BIRTH PlanĀ lays out how we can change the trajectory of our region!