Improving the Health of Babies Born in Baltimore Through a Leadership Development Program

Implementing a leadership development program to improve the health of babies born in Baltimore

The Family League of Baltimore City conducted the Babies Born Healthy Leadership in Action Program from November 2006 to November 2008 to try to improve birth outcomes in Baltimore. It helped actual and potential leaders in Baltimore develop leadership skills while working together on the problem of infant mortality.

Key Results

  • During the project period, participants reported several short-term accomplishments, including:

    • Collaboration between Baltimore City Health Department and Baltimore HealthCare Access—a quasi-public agency of the department—to visit pregnant women to identify environmental health threats in the home.
    • Provision of obstetric care by the University of Maryland Medical Center at Chrysalis House, a drug and alcohol treatment facility.
    • Modification of the prenatal risk assessment form used by managed care organizations to include information on language preference and mental health of expectant mothers.
    • Distribution of about 800 cribs to new mothers through Baltimore HealthCare Access and home-visiting programs.
    • Initial preparation for a multiyear public awareness campaign.
  • The Babies Born Healthy Leadership in Action Program laid the foundation for the following changes in Baltimore policies and systems:

    • In April 2009, the mayor of Baltimore and the commissioner of the Baltimore City Health Department released The Strategy to Improve Birth Outcomes in Baltimore City, which built on the work of this project. It outlined a comprehensive, coordinated citywide effort to achieve significant improvements in birth outcomes.
    • The Baltimore City Health Department assigned a bureau chief to advance the strategy.
    • The mayor's Office of Human and Community Development created a position of early care and learning at City Hall to help advance the agenda to improve birth outcomes and to ensure a healthy, successful early childhood.
    • Family League was one of four lead organizations involved in implementing the strategy, along with the mayor's office, the Baltimore City Health Department and CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield.