Mom holding laughing baby

Spring into Action 2021 with African American Babies Coalition and Projects


The African American Babies Coalition and Projects is a partnership among African American community stakeholders who promote the healthy development of African American babies across the Twin Cities.  With co-host March of Dimes, this coalition hosts two lunches a year for stakeholders, community partners such as the Integrated Care for High Risk Pregnancy Initiative (ICHRP), and supporters of birth equity to discuss how to save mothers, babies and fathers and to invite health and policy stakeholders to take action.

The spring 2021 lunch, held over Zoom, provided a forum for participants to learn more about and discuss ways to improve health outcomes and lower the social determinants that lead to illness, poor birth outcomes, toxic behaviors, violence and eventual deaths.


Keynote Speaker Brittney Palmer

Brittney Palmer, mission programs manager, national March of Dimes, explains the Mom and Baby Action Network, a new March of Dimes initiative to facilitate cross-sector partnerships to mobilize the organization’s mission.

These complex issues really benefit from collective impact approaches to implementing solutions. And that's a fancy way of saying that we can't do it on our own. We need community, we need partners and partner organizations. We need folks that are on the ground, that are doing the work and understand what the community needs are, what the community assets are, and what the community actually wants to have happen.


Brittney Palmer, mission programs manager, March of Dimes

Panel Discussion

Charles Dixon of Ramsey County

Charles Dixon, Director of Social Services, Community Partnerships and Quality and Continuous Improvement for Ramsey County, hosted a panel discussion with Dr. Helen Kim; Beverly Bushyhead; Brandon Jones; James Burroughs, II; and Dr. Bravada Garrett-Akinsanya at the African American Babies Coalition Spring into Action online luncheon.

I think fathers are paramount when it comes to healthy families ... And unfortunately, historically, fathers have been kind of kind of nudged, out I don't want to say strategically edged out, but nudged out of family planning. And I believe from conception, to birth and beyond, fathers should be included, and we have to think of creative ways to include fathers.

Brandon Jones, MFT, psychotherapist, professor, consultant, founder- Jegna Consulting, Director of Learning-Alia

African American Babies Coalition Partner Updates

Minnesota chapter of March of Dimes

has a new integrated research agenda that will inform policies that the March of Dimes advocates for at a national and Minnesota level. The organiztion is also focused on consumer and professional education about the health of birthing people and babies.

Center for Health Equity at the Minnesota Department of Health

is one of 10 state partners to participate in a collaborative, "Calling all Sectors," funded by Pew Charitable Trust and Robert Johnson wood Foundation, to improve maternal and child health in each state.

NorthPoint Health and Wellness

Continues to be a resource for pregnant African American woman and mothers with infants to reduce the health disparities facing the North Minneapolis Brooklyn center in Brooklyn Park community.

Open Cities HealthCare

is focusing on the community wide effort to address diabetes and hypertension in prenatal care, enrolling prenatal patients in a smoking cessation program and efforts to screen for high risk patients who could be at risk of preterm birth.

Minnesota Community Care

is helping moms navigate and advocate for themselves during their pregnancy and thereafter, in Minnesota and other states. Staff are members of the patience experience board at a local hospital and have also helped build a pilot referral process in another health system. The organization has started giving postpartum packages to moms two weeks after they deliver babies.

Cultural Wellness Center

continues working with partners in the community, is working on perinatal safe spots, is working with a youth advisory committee to help understand community needs, is starting a program to talk with high school students about careers in health care, and is doing virtual doula work.

Prenatal to 3 Coalition

represents a broad array of local, regional and statewide early childhood stakeholders with a focus on children facing racial, geographic and economic inequities.

Ramsey County Birth Equity Council

is hosting community dialogs and is examining quantitative and qualitative data to develop logical models and action goals. The group is working to adhive birth and racial equity at community, individual and systemic levels.

MileStone Creations

provides birth to postpartum support, including doula services, yoga, meal preparation and peer support.

ICHRP is a community developed, community led community driven solution toward addressing the terrible health disparities experienced among African American and Native American women and their babies.

Ellie Garrett, Department of Human Services

Join the Conversation

Join the conversation to support mothers, babies and fathers and to invite health and policy stakeholders to take action. For information about the next lunch for stakeholders, partners and supporters, contact Sameerah Bilal-Roby. We'll see you this fall!

The Spring into Action event was sponsored by the African American Babies Coalition and Projects (AABC)March of DimesUCare and United Healthcare