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This report expands upon earlier healthy birth and early development work by critically examining how local community-based organizations are addressing maternal-child health-racial inequities and disparities. While home visiting, breastfeeding, doulas and baby-friendly hospitals are essential strategies for improving maternal-child health, a health gap still exists for women and families of color, as evidenced by high infant and maternal mortality rates and low infant birth weight rates in New Mexico, particularly for women of color. While the maternal-child health strategies may improve access to care for women and families of color, they do not necessarily translate to quality of care. "Evidence-based" practices will not lead to changed outcomes for W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) target populations if racial equity is not addressed and foundational in the work. The report explored how WKKF grantees are addressing, advocating for, and implementing actions to advance equity to improve maternal-child health outcomes
Fom 2014 to 2015, W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)partnered with the University of New Mexico evaluation team to conduct a study to examine if and how the Foundation's investments in the strategies of folic acid initiative, home visiting, doulas, breastfeeding peer counselors and baby-friendly hospitals were improving maternal-child health in WKKF's priority places in New Mexico. One key finding in the Healthy Birth & Early Development in New Mexico evaluation report was that these strategies supported a continuum-of-care that is essential for strengthening the health and wellbeing of babies, mothers, and families from preconception through a child's third year. A continuum of care framework was developed by the evaluators to capture achievable short-term outcomes such as healthy family behaviors, policy change and systems change that over time could be linked to improvement in the long-term outcomes of full-term births, healthy birth weights, exclusive access to mother's milk, decreased adverse childhood experiences, increased social support, improved parental well-being, and healthy developmental milestones.
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