Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. Announces Omaha Healthy Start Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration

Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. (CDHC) was recently re-awarded another five-year project period totaling $1,008,333.00 annually under the Healthy Start Initiative: Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health Program from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). This program, called Omaha Healthy Start (OHS), is designed to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy.

“We are so honored to receive this grant on behalf of our community,” said John Ewing, Jr., Board of Directors Chairperson of Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. “This funding enhances the well-being of pregnant and postpartum women, specifically addressing communities where infant mortality rates exceed 1.5 times the national average. It aims to tackle disparities in outcomes, particularly focusing on reducing higher mortality rates among African American and Indigenous women and infants of color.”

According to the Douglas County Health Department, from 2019 to 2021 Douglas County experienced an infant mortality rate of 8.9 per 1,000 live births, a low birthweight rate of 131.5 per 1,000 live births, and a preterm birth rate of 159.9 per 1,000 live births. 385 infants were born with a low birthweight of less than 2,500 grams (5.5 pounds).  There were 468 preterm births, with a preterm birth rate of 159.9 per 1,000 live births. These statistics highlight the critical areas of concern and emphasize the need for interventions and support to improve maternal and infant health outcomes.

Omaha Healthy Start serves pregnant people, parents and guardians of children under 12 months in Douglas County. OHS helps with education and training in all stages of pregnancy, health assessments and screenings, nutrition and fitness resources, and more to achieve positive health outcomes.

“Funding will support the health care, social, and community needs of mothers and babies in North Omaha,” said Kenny McMorris, Chief Executive Officer of Charles Drew Health Center, Inc. “This initiative aims to enhance community health and address significant disparities in outcomes for maternal and infant health while engaging fathers.  Since 2001, OHS has played a crucial role in combatting the maternal health challenges we currently face by collaborating with local organizations to achieve improved health results for both mothers and babies. Every mother deserves a healthy and safe pregnancy and delivery, regardless of their circumstances. Our commitment remains steadfast in supporting efforts that promote better health outcomes within our communities.”