GRANTEE HIGHLIGHT

LA Best Babies Network

We know that women who receive recommended prenatal care have healthier babies and are less likely to deliver prematurely or have other serious complications related to pregnancy. Yet one in nine infants in our country is born to a mother who entered prenatal care late. For individual community clinics, keeping up to date and providing the recommended prenatal and postpartum care to L.A.’s diverse population is a challenge. Supported by a two-year $399,940 UniHealth Foundation grant, the LA Best Babies Network is working to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies through its Healthy Births Care Quality Collaborative (HBCQC), a collaboration among ten Los Angeles community clinics.

“The project helps clinical practice sites to adopt practices and share innovative processes to ensure that all women are receiving optimal perinatal care,” explains Dr. Carolina Reyes, Executive Director of LA Best Babies Network. Community clinics serving large numbers of pregnant women are working together to promote healthy pregnancies and good birth outcomes. “From the start, the Collaborative has used a participatory approach to all of its activities,” Dr. Reyes explains. “We have engaged in learning collaboratives from the beginning, and the process has transformed how organizations work together. Meaningful conversations across diverse organizations are occurring and relationships are built across regions. This has changed how we operate. We have gone from an investment in a theoretical model to actually making it work for our clinics. As a result of our shared learnings, we are now exceeding our clinical goals for screenings and treatment.”

Patricia Banks, Director of Programs at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center, agrees. “Collaboration is hard but we have developed a win-win situation. One of the most important outcomes of the Collaborative has been the emergence of a strong network of connections among safety net providers in Los Angeles. We know now that it’s not always about being the lead agency. Everyone has different strengths and we all have different times when we are leaders. But we all work towards the same end—identifying and serving high-risk families. The network has made us smarter about referrals and more efficient across the board. Most importantly, we are providing the services to improve healthy births, healthy babies, and healthy mothers.”