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The Cooperative Awarded $1M to Help Close Racial Gap in Maternal Health

Updated: Jun 2, 2023

KYW Newsradio - March 14, 2023

NEW JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — The Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative secured a new round of federal funding to help address and eliminate racial disparities in maternal health among Black and Latina women.

The cooperative will funnel more than $1 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to its Camden Healthy Start program. The initiative works to improve the health of pregnant individuals – specifically, African American and Black – and reduce the high infant mortality rate for babies and families in the city.

“We know that infants – black infants – in the city of Camden and across the state of New Jersey have three times higher rates of poor outcomes, low birth weight, prematurity, and sometimes fatal complications at the time of birth,” said Helen Hannigan with Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative. She also said that twice as many babies in Camden die before their first birthday, and three times as many pregnant women in Camden don’t receive prenatal care. U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross (D-Camden), says he’s pleased to see federal dollars invested in closing the racial gaps in maternal health. Advocates pushing for more access to maternal, infant health care in Pa.“One child being saved is so important,” he said. “And that's why this grant is just incredibly touching to those who are about to have what should be the happiest time of their life: welcoming a child into this world.” “And this is what that grant will look to restore… is those who have not been able to access the system for a healthy child being born,” Norcross added.“This is what perinatal cooperative does best.” Hannigan says Camden Healthy Start will continue to work at the hospital level and with providers to bring to light the impact of racial disparities and how it affects health outcomes.

Read full story and listen to interview from the Cooperative's executive director Helen Hannigan and Congressman Donald Norcross here.

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