Skip navigation

The Problem

Expectant and new parents are often forced to navigate complicated health care and social service systems just to get the essential resources and care they need. These broken systems disproportionately impact Black women, who, in New York City, are three times more likely to experience childbirth complications and eight times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

Our Work

Health Leads’ New York Maternal Health Initiative is bringing together health care systems, community-based organizations, and Black parents to reimagine maternal and postpartum healthcare. By improving access to public benefits, removing barriers to accessing essential resources, and empowering caregivers to support parents through their pregnancy and postpartum experience, we’re improving health outcomes for parents and their families by ensuring they have the resources they need to thrive.

Areas of Focus

Increase access to doula services in communities most impacted by systemic racial inequities

n partnership with the Maternal Health Quality Improvement Network (MHQIN), Healthy Start Brooklyn, and the New York Coalition for Doula Access (NYCDA), we’re increasing access to doula care for Black and low-income patients and ensuring doulas have the support, resources, and agency they need to support expecting and new parents.

Learn more about NYCDA and how you can join these efforts here.

Related Resources

Barriers And Opportunities: Doula Care In The Age Of The Pandemic – This resource shares learnings from a series of focus groups Health Leads conducted with Doulas working in New York City, presenting challenges, opportunities, and recommendations for how institutions can better integrate and support doulas into the care team.

Streamline and simplify access to public health benefits

In partnership with the Brownsville Multi Service Family Health and Wellness Centers, Health Leads is working to to increase new prenatal patients’ enrollment in available benefits like he Women, Infants & Children Program (WIC), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and Medicaid by testing promising practices to streamline the enrollment process, including text message outreach. The findings of our pilot program at the BMS Family Health and Wellness Center in Brownsville will help inform state-wide strategies for increasing benefits enrollment for perinatal patients and their families.

Related Resources

NYC WIC: Community Health Workers, Localized Data And The Path To Healthier Families – This case study explores a New York City-based collaboration between NYC Health + Hospitals, New York State Department of HealthHealth Leads, and the Robin Hood Foundation to drive site and system-wide improvements that streamline access to WIC benefits for eligible families. 

Ensure expectant and new mothers have access to trusted, reliable health information

In partnership with the New York Vaccine Literacy Campaign at CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy, Health Leads have launched a co-designed pilot to improve vaccine confidence among mothers and birthing people in the New York area. This includes prototyping the effectiveness of video testimonials of mothers and birthing people sharing their Covid-19 vaccination experience during pregnancy and postpartum.

Related Resources

Parent to Parent: Pregnancy and COVID-19 Vaccination Stories – Health Leads and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy partnered with maternal health providers and community members to develop a series of powerful testimonials from new mothers – Erika, Jenna and Valeska – sharing their personal COVID-19 vaccine stories. You can also read the COVID-19 Vaccination Handbook for Pregnant and Postpartum Parents we developed with CUNY and Hunger Free NYC.

The Vaccine Communication Demands on Community-Based Workforces – In this article for “Frontiers in Public Health,” Health Leads and our partners at the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health & Health Policy outline the lessons learned from this project and what changes and investments are necessary to strengthen community-based health information campaigns.

Ensure expectant and new mothers have access to trusted, reliable health information

Health Leads continues to work with local maternal health organizations in New York, to ensure expectant and new parents can access all the resources they need for a healthy pregnancy and good birth outcomes. Together, we’re improving the coordination of essential resource referrals by strengthening and expanding existing community resource networks and breaking down silos between clinics and communities.In partnership with the Brooklyn Perinatal Network (BPN), we’re working to promote a resource network model that shares power, governance, and decision-making among community partners and health system participants.

Read more about the pilot initiative on BPN’s website

Our Strategy

Adipiscing vitae proin sagittis nisl rhoncus mattis rhoncus urna neque viverra justo nec ultrices dui sapien eget mi proin sed libero enim sed faucibus turpis in eu mi bibendum neque egestas congue quisque egestas diam in arcu cursus euismod quis viverra nibh cras pulvinar mattis nunc sed blandit libero volutpat sed cras ornare arcu dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut tristique et egestas quis ipsum suspendisse ultrices gravida dictum fusce ut placerat orci nulla pellentesque dignissim enim sit amet venenatis

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Donec odio. Quisque volutpat mattis eros. Nullam malesuada erat ut turpis. Suspendisse urna nibh, viverra non, semper suscipit, posuere a, pede.


Link 1

Link 2

Link 3

Support this work

Donate Now

Stay in the Loop

Sign up for our Newsletter

Share This

Featured Resources

[Description of resource]
[Description of resource]
[Description of resource]


[Text thanking donors]