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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Boston is testing postpartum food and health support for black families

By meerna Jun12,2024

Racial disparities in the health of Boston mothers and families inspired a recent program to improve outcomes for families of color who recently welcomed newborns. Fourteen families participated in a 10-week meal delivery program organized by the Boston Public Health Commission. Families were also enrolled in other health programs and received home visits from nurses who assisted in the postpartum period. According to the commission’s executive director, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the pilot program was inspired by findings from the BPHC Boston Maternal and Child Health Report 2023. That report found that the infant mortality rate for Black infants in Boston was more than twice as high than the citywide average and more than three times higher than for white infants. Black babies were more likely to be born early or at low birth weight. Additionally, black women in Massachusetts are 1.9 times more likely to die during pregnancy or within a year after giving birth, according to state data. The risk of serious complications for mothers is also 70% higher. Families were selected for the pilot program either through participation in the Boston Health Start Initiative or by receiving services at affiliated health centers in Dorchester, Roxbury, or Mattapan. Under the BPHC pilot program, participating families received snacks and two meals per week. “As a mother of two children, I know how important and difficult the postpartum period is mentally and emotionally,” said Maggie Pearson, founder of meal delivery company Feast & Fettle, which was selected to deliver meals through this program. “Knowing that they have a very nutritious meal that will go some way to helping them get through the first few weeks makes me very excited and proud of the work we do here,” said Fernanda Poyant, clinical social worker at Feast & Fettle. Mothers participating in the program also received a breastfeeding kit. At the end of week 10, families were asked to submit surveys about their experiences. “Although currently a one-time pilot project, this program represents an advancement of our current work and a way to explore the possibilities of what the future of helping families in Boston may look like,” said Uchenna Ndulue, director of Child, Office of Adolescent and Family Health at the Boston Commission Public Health.

Racial disparities in maternal and family health in Boston inspired a recent program to improve outcomes for families of color who recently welcomed newborns.

Fourteen families participated in a 10-week meal delivery program organized by the Boston Public Health Commission. Families were also enrolled in other health programs and received home visits from nurses who assisted in the postpartum period.

According to the commission’s executive director, Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, the pilot program was inspired by findings from the BPHC Boston Maternal and Child Health Report 2023. That report found that the infant mortality rate for Black infants in Boston was more than twice as high than the citywide average and more than three times higher than for white infants.

Black babies were more likely to be born early or at low birth weight.

Additionally, black women in Massachusetts are 1.9 times more likely to die during pregnancy or within a year after giving birth, according to state data. They also have a 70% greater risk of serious maternal complications.

Families were selected for the pilot program through participation in the Boston Health Start Initiative or by seeking services at affiliated health centers in Dorchester, Roxbury or Mattapan. Under the BPHC pilot program, participating families received snacks and two meals per week.

“As a mother of two children, I know how important and difficult the postpartum period is mentally and emotionally,” said Maggie Pearson, founder of meal delivery company Feast & Fettle, which was selected to deliver meals through this program.

“Knowing that they have a very nutritious meal to help them get through the first few weeks makes me very excited and proud of the work we do here,” said Fernanda Poyant, clinical social worker at Feast & Fettle.

Mothers participating in the program also received a breastfeeding kit.

After 10 weeks, families were asked to return surveys about the experience.

“Although currently a one-time pilot project, this program represents an advancement of our current work and a way to explore the possibilities of what the future of helping families in Boston may look like,” said Uchenna Ndulue, director of Child, Office of Adolescent and Family Health at the Boston Commission Public Health.

By meerna

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