In May 2007, the Office of Minority Health (OMH), of the Department of Health and Human Services launched A Healthy Baby Begins with You - a national campaign to raise awareness about infant mortality with an emphasis on the African American community - as one of our efforts to end health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.
- Extend and continue broad infant mortality awareness campaign; add preconception and inter-conception health messages.
- Develop activities targeted to the 18+ population.
- Reach the college-age (black) population with targeted health messages emphasizing preconception health and healthcare.
- Train minority college students – blacks in particular – as health ambassadors.
- Increase OMH involvement with colleges and universities, in particular minority serving institutions such as HBCUs.
- Strengthen OMH leadership at the local level through the establishment of working partnerships with Healthy Start Programs, State/City Health Departments, State OMHs and CBOs.
The campaign has traveled the country quite successfully, attending and organizing events in Washington, DC; Detroit, Michigan; Wichita, Kansas; Brooklyn, New York; Tallahassee, Fla.; New Orleans; Nashville, Tenn.; and Biloxi, Miss. Along with that, partners across the country have hosted more than 60 events.
From that perspective, the campaign is a success, and OMH keeps receiving requests for new events and for distribution of its materials. But in those travels OMH has heard one question from the local communities, organizations and health departments: now what? How can we move forward and take advantage of this initial push? This has been reinforced by the many questions and messages A Healthy Baby Begins with You spokesperson Tonya Lewis-Lee has received asking her what would come next.
And what comes next is the Preconception Peer Educators (PPE) Program for college students. OMH is conducting a pilot of the PPE Program on college's campuses this September, for Infant Mortality Awareness Month.
The Preconception Peer Educators (PPE) Program was launched with a two-day training at Howard University, August 8-9, 2008, for the first crop of peer educators who would be training their peers at each of the pilot sites. Learn more about the Preconception Peer Educators (PPE) Program.