From a positive pregnancy test to the birth of a child, a whole range of emotions and changes occur in family dynamics. Compounded by poverty, these issues create significant challenges. The infant mortality rate in the Richmond area is 11.0 deaths per 1,000 live births, but it’s a staggering 18.9/1,000 among African Americans in Richmond’s East End (The national average is 6.9/1,000).
That’s where Bon Secours Center for Healthy Beginnings at Richmond Community Hospital comes in. The Center for Healthy Beginnings is a free community health resource center that offers nearby residents health education and family support with a particular focus on pre-conception health, prenatal health, and newborn health, care and development. Each family is unique and often individual attention, mentoring and coordination of resources are key to a healthy outcome and accessing the services new families need.
Healthy Beginnings’ staff serve as health navigators; providing pregnancy and parenting information and classes, guiding families through the process of applying for health insurance, finding doctors, and locating nutrition or other resources.
Partnerships including Bon Secours Love and Learn to teach additional pre-conception, prenatal and postnatal classes, Family Lifeline to provide home based parenting information, and First Things First of Greater Richmond to offer a Boot Camp for New Dads class enhance the Center’s services.