The BHS Story
Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc. is committed to reducing infant mortality by utilizing a Life Course Perspective for improving the health and well-being of women and their families through the provision of comprehensive, supportive services offered in the communities where they live.
In 1991, our founders had the vision to partner with the federal government and become part of the original 15 Healthy Start program demonstration sites across the country to tackle disparities in perinatal health, including infant mortality. Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc. has been a leader in raising awareness on how social determinants of health—access to health insurance, education, job opportunities and a safe living environment—impact health and drive inequities in health outcomes.
We work in communities with rates of infant mortality at least 1½ times the U.S. national average and high rates for other adverse perinatal outcomes (e.g., low birthweight, preterm birth, maternal morbidity and mortality) in order to address the needs of high-risk women and their families before, during, and after pregnancy.
In fact, 40-70% of health disparities in the US are caused by social determinants of health-driven inequities. Social determinants of health are conditions in the environments in which people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks. Resources that improve the quality of life can have a significant influence on population health outcomes. Examples of these resources include health insurance, access to quality health services, lead-free as well as safe and affordable housing, access to education, and availability of healthy foods.
Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc. began by delivering resources to families at their doorsteps and in their homes. We continue this tradition today and expanded to provide additional services, such as GED classes, parent leadership groups, and Belly Buddies in our full-service location on the east side.
As the largest home-visiting partner with B’more for Healthy Babies, we are proud to be part of the movement that helped drop the Baltimore City infant mortality rate.
The drop in the infant mortality rate in Baltimore City plays a significant role in the overall drop in infant mortality for Maryland because a large proportion (1/5) of infant deaths each year occur in the City.
Who We Are
For more than two decades, Baltimore Healthy Start Inc. has been investing in the health and well-being of Baltimore’s families. We push to reduce perinatal health disparities, including infant mortality, by providing direct services to pregnant and postpartum women, their infants and fathers living in socially, economically, and medically disadvantaged communities. Established in 1991 as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit corporation by the Baltimore City Health Department to implement the original federal Healthy Start infant mortality reduction initiative, Baltimore Healthy Start, Inc. promotes health and wellness by providing expecting and new mothers and their families with the health care and resources they need to nurture their children.
We believe in community health workers and peer models of improving health. Our recruiters, most of whom live in the communities they serve, meet women at their doorsteps and enroll them in a program that provides support through all stages of their maternal life: from preconception to pregnancy to postpartum and between pregnancies, and during a child’s first few years of life.