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Mayor Adams Announces Over 12,000 Families Served With Maternal and Infant Health Services Since Expanding Access to Doulas and Home Visitors

May 13, 2024

Services Address Racial Disparities in Maternal Health for Black and Brown New Yorkers

Advances Adams Administration's Goal in HealthyNYC to Reduce Black Maternal Mortality by 10 Percent by 2030

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan today announced that, since expanding access to doula and midwifery services two years ago, over 12,000 families have been served with home visits by the New Family Home Visits Initiative. The $34 million initiative offers support services and referrals to new and expectant parents by having trained health workers – such as a nurses, doulas, lactation consultants, or community health workers – make in-person or virtual visits to the home of a new or expecting parents, identifying maternal health needs during pregnancy or soon after childbirth, preparing families for delivery and a new baby, and connecting families to needed services essential to the well-being of mothers, children, and families. The New Family Home Visits Initiative includes the Newborn Home Visits Program, Nurse Family Partnership, and Citywide Doula Initiative.

As of December 2023, approximately 9,500 families were served by the Newborn Home Visit Program, 1,200 by the Nurse Family Partnership, and 1,900 by the Citywide Doula Initiative. As the city aims to reduce Black maternal mortality by 10 percent by 2030 through HealthyNYC – New York City's ambitious plan to improve and extend the average lifespan of all New Yorkers – this milestone represents the Adams administration's continued commitment to building healthier families and communities across the five boroughs.

"Since day one, our administration has been committed to supporting expecting families and tackling maternal mortality," said Mayor Adams. "The numbers are clear: Black New Yorkers are four times more likely than white New Yorkers to experience a pregnancy-associated death. Our administration has taken action to boost birth equity – expanding the doula program citywide, signing a package of bills to strengthen maternal health, and setting the ambitious goal of reducing Black maternal mortality by 10 percent by 2030. Since we expanded access to doulas, lactation consultants, and nurse visits, we are proud to have connected over 12,000 families across New York City with services that are supporting families. Our children are our most precious resource, and by investing in them and their families from the start, we'll build a safer and healthier city for generations to come."

"Today's announcement demonstrates our long-standing commitment to reshaping our maternal health system to engage a broader care team including doulas, lactation specialists, and others to give every expectant person and family the support they need before and after welcoming their new family member," said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. "Furthermore, we set a goal through HealthyNYC to reduce Black maternal mortality by 10 percent by 2030, as Black women are four times more likely to experience a pregnancy associated death compared to white women in New York City. We will continue to work to close these equity gaps and give every family the healthy, supportive foundation they need to thrive."

"Supporting maternal and infant health in a way that centers an individual family's needs is essential to building trust and a strong foundation for a healthy future," said DOHMH Commissioner Dr. Vasan. "We are committed to reducing maternal mortality rates as part of our efforts to increase New Yorkers' lifespans and healthspans, and the New Family Home Visits Initiative offers valuable accompaniment and support to ensure the healthiest start to life possible."

To simplify the referral process and make it easier for families to be quickly connected to home visiting programs, the New Family Home Visits Initiative implemented the nation's first citywide, web-based coordinated intake and referral system. This system matches families to programs and community resources that best fit their needs and for this effort, DOHMH was awarded the Government Technology Best of New York City Award in November 2023.

Comprised of three programs, the New Family Home Visits Initiative connects new and expecting parents with thoughtful care for every expecting and new family. The Newborn Home Visits Program has served approximately 9,500 families in just over two years and offers no-cost in-person and virtual home visits to families with a new infant (zero to three months) to facilitate the adjustment to parenthood, assure a safe living environment for families, provide topic-specific education, and identify health and social issues that require referral to community-based services. The Nurse Family Partnership is an evidence-based nurse home visiting program that pairs clients with registered nurses to receive regular visits from early pregnancy until their child's second birthday. The program has served approximately 1,200 families since March 2023. Finally, the Citywide Doula Initiative served more than 1,900 clients since its launch in March 2022, including support during approximately 1,300 births. As part of the city's program, doulas provide prenatal home visits, continuous support during childbirth, and four postpartum visits. Doulas also help clients establish and maintain breastfeeding and help with parent-infant bonding. In addition to this traditional doula care, clients receive case management services through screenings and referrals. Additionally, through a partnership with Ancient Song Doula Services, the Citywide Doula Initiative trains at least 30 community members as doulas each year.

Tackling maternal mortality is an urgent priority for the Adams administration, as research shows that Black New Yorkers are four times more likely than white New Yorkers to experience a pregnancy-associated death. From 2016 to 2018, data shows that 72 percent of pregnancy-associated deaths among Black mothers were preventable, compared to 43 percent for white mothers and 65 percent for Latina mothers. The Adams administration has taken action to strengthen birth equity, expanding the doula program citywide, signing a package of bills to strengthen maternal health, and setting the ambitious goal of reducing Black maternal mortality by 10 percent by 2030 through HealthyNYC.

In January 2024, following his State of the City address, Mayor Adams announced Women Forward NYC, a more than $43 million investment aimed at making New York City a national leader on gender equity, including for transgender and gender expansive New Yorkers, with the ambitious goal of becoming the most women-forward city in the United States. Supported through city dollars, private and public partnerships, academic institutions, and federal grant funding, the action plan addresses gender disparities by connecting women to professional development and higher-paying jobs; dismantling barriers to sexual, reproductive, and chronic health care; reducing gender-based violence against women; and providing holistic housing services, including for formerly incarcerated women and domestic and gender-based violence survivors.

"I commend Mayor Adams and Dr. Vasan for making strong investments in the New Family Home Visits Initiative two years ago and ultimately bringing needed services to some 12,000 new and expectant parents in our city," said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. "This $34 million initiative, built on a strong base of existing maternal health supports, expanded access to the doula and midwifery care that many expectant mothers want."

"This Mother's Day, we recommit to uplifting all the mothers that are the lifeblood of our families and our city," said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. "I applaud Mayor Adams and Dr. Vasan on reaching the historic milestone of serving over 12,000 families under the New Family Home Visits Initiative. Through this program, new and expectant mothers have received convenient house calls from expert health workers, so they have the best possible outcomes. The program is an essential tool to reach our goal of reducing Black maternal mortality by 10 percent by 2030, a critical objective to close the gap of Black mothers being 2.5 times more likely to die in pregnancy. In Albany, I have built upon this work by introducing legislation to provide benefits to women who suffer the tragedy of stillbirth. Together, we are committed to the health of women in our city."

"For Black New Yorkers, and others in communities of color, doula care can make the difference between life and death," said New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams. "As a women-majority Council, we have consistently prioritized addressing racial disparities in maternal health outcomes, enacting 11 laws to expand access to doula care and other critical services for birthing people. Through investments by the city, over 12,000 families in underserved neighborhoods have been provided with life-saving resources, which will have lasting health benefits for children, mothers, and communities for years to come. We are proud of the impact these commitments have produced and will continue to prioritize expanded access to maternal health care that ensures families have access to these vital services."

"New York City is demonstrating how local governments across the United States can and must take bold action to address racial disparities in maternal health and defend access to safe reproductive healthcare," said New York City Councilmember Carlina Rivera. "I commend the administration for their continued commitment to creating and enhancing services to serve new parents that improve outcomes across the boroughs."

"Maternal health has been a priority for the City Council since day one, resulting in legislation and funding to support doula and mid-wife services which are so crucial to pregnant people," said New York City Councilmember, chair, Health Committee, Lynn Schulman. "Today's announced milestone demonstrates the importance of bridging healthcare disparities and empowering families to thrive."

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