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Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health Division

Publish Date:

February 18, 2020

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MCAH Communications
PO Box 997420, MS 8300
Sacramento, CA 95899-7420

MCAHCommunications@cdph.ca.gov
(866) 241-0395
(916) 650-0305 (Fax)


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When I learned of a program that specifically caters to Black women, I thought this is definitely for me.

- Jocelyn

Jocelyn's Story: Former Aerospace Engineer Finds 'Community' in BIH

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When Jocelyn became pregnant, she craved support and community with other Black women. She discovered her local Black Infant Health (BIH), a program that serves pregnant and parenting Black women from all socioeconomic and educational backgrounds.
"This is my first pregnancy and I was very excited," she says, describing a years-long struggle with fertility before finally becoming pregnant. "My mother is a medical doctor, so you would think any questions I have I could just ask her, but I don’t live anywhere near her or any of my family."
Jocelyn herself is an accomplished career woman, having spent more than a decade in the aerospace industry working alongside rocket scientists.
BIH serves all Black women, regardless of income. The program intervenes to reduce the social, economic and racial stress that experts believe play an important role in Black women’s poor birth and maternal outcomes.
Within a culturally affirming environment and honoring the unique history of Black women, the Black Infant Health program aims to help women have healthy babies. In prenatal and postnatal weekly group sessions and one-on-one meetings with a trained Family Health Advocate, participants learn proven strategies to reduce stress and develop life skills.
For women like Jocelyn, BIH reinforces cultural identity. "I’m in an interracial marriage, and although I have a really great new family here in California, I don’t have a lot of community around where we live," she says. "When I learned of a program that specifically caters to Black women, I thought this is definitely for me."
Jocelyn stays busy volunteering and relishing in her role as mom to son, Ellis. She and her husband, Matthew (pictured below holding son, Ellis), look forward to growing their family—and are in the process of adopting a baby girl.

Visit the Black Infant Health webpage for more information.

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