Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Healthy Births Initiative?

The Healthy Births Initiative is an initiative of First 5 LA, whose goal is to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes for all women in Los Angeles County.

To support this work First 5 LA allotted 28 million dollars. These funds, along with other resources in Los Angeles County, launched the initiative and provided support in the following areas:

  1. Best Babies Collaboratives
  2. The Healthy Births Learning Collaboratives (HBLCs)
  3. LA Best Babies Network

To learn more, download the Healthy Births Initiative brochure here.


What is LA Best Babies Network?

LA Best Babies Network provides the infrastructure necessary for the growth, integration and sustainability of the Healthy Births Initiative. The Network works on policy and advocacy that can improve the health and well-being of women, infants and families. The Network coordinates county-wide policy and advocacy activities. It also provides technical assistance to support the Best Babies Collaboratives, Healthy Births Learning Collaboratives, the Healthy Births Advisory Board, and Care Quality Improvement. This support is critical to ensuring that the components of the Healthy Births Initiative thrive beyond the current funding period.


What does LA Best Babies Network do?

The Network:

  • Provides central coordination for a perinatal health policy agenda. Working with community stakeholders and others, it designs policy and programs that create sustainable improvement in pregnancy and birth;
  • Conducts research and evaluation to inform policy and program development and direction;
  • Serves as a resource for information on policy and advocacy issues, as identified by the community, and in response to governmental changes;
  • Nurtures the growth and development of Best Babies Collaboratives, ensuring the skills-building vital to their success;
  • Conducts Care Quality Improvement activities to assist providers and others to institute systems change and the use of evidence-based practice guidelines, and link healthcare providers to community services and resources;
  • Seeks sustainable funding for all aspects of the Healthy Births Initiative, especially to expand Best Babies Collaboratives to each priority area within L.A. County, to lengthen the duration of the initiative; and
  • Provides consultation to collaborators, community members, care providers, policy-makers, business, and government entities to promote healthy births.

What are Best Babies Collaboratives?

Best Babies Collaboratives (BBCs) are partnerships of several organization providing direct services to women in priority communities.


What do Best Babies Collaboratives do?

Best Babies Collaboratives:

  • Expand the capacity to provide services and resources to communities within priority areas;
  • Implement the  HBI Core Approaches to improve birth and pregnancy outcomes, strengthen community support for pregnant women and families, and increase their ability to care for their newborns;
  • Work with the Healthy Births Learning Collaboratives, LA Best Babies Network and other Best Babies Collaboratives to share learning, demonstrate measurable progress and mobilize for action; and
  • Collaborate on the comprehensive, integrated, multi-level approach required to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes. National studies demonstrate that communities working together can improve pregnancy outcomes.

Collaboration, is defined as “multiple partners working together in well-defined, mutually beneficial relationships.” It is our belief that collaboration will ultimately improve pregnancy, birth, family and community outcomes in Los Angeles County.


What are the Healthy Birth Initiative (HBI) Core Approaches?

The following Core Approaches were identified to improve the health and well being of pregnant and parenting families in Los Angeles County:

  1. Policy and Advocacy
  2. Community Building
  3. Health Messaging and Health Education
  4. Social Support
  5. Prenatal Care Quality Improvement
  6. Interconception Care
  7. Outreach
  8. Case Management/Home Visitation


What are the Healthy Births Learning Collaboratives?

Healthy Births Learning Collaboratives (HBLCs) are networks of perinatal stakeholders, working together to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes within their communities in Los Angeles County.

The HBLCs provide free, interactive, community-based meetings, intended to promote knowledge sharing, capacity-building, collaborative planning, and action to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes.

HBLCs offer:

  • Enhancement of skills through education and technical assistance on topics affecting pregnancy, infancy and child health.
  • Information on community-specific resources, policy issues impacting pregnancy and maternal health, and available funding opportunities.
  • Networking and collaborative opportunities among maternal and child health and community professionals from local and adjoining communities.
  • The opportunity to inform LA Best Babies Network and guide policy and advocacy activities, and identify information and service needs for local communities; and
  • Opportunities for collaborative planning and action to implement evidence-based and community-proven approaches to improving pregnancy and birth outcomes.


Who can attend an HBLC meeting?

The HBLCs are open to all persons interested in improving pregnancy and birth outcomes in Los Angeles County. We recognize that there is no “quick-fix” to improving pregnancy and birth outcomes and that it will take the wisdom and skills of all of us working together.

Traditionally, members have included physicians, nurses, prenatal health care workers, health educators, dietitians, researchers, healthcare administrators and community members, who are interested in working together to improve pregnancy and birth outcomes.


What is a SPA?

Los Angeles County is divided into eight geographic "Service Planning Areas" or SPAs, for purposes of planning and coordination of services. Each SPA has an Area Health Office that is responsible for planning public health and clinical services according to the health needs of the community. The American Indian Council (AIC) oversees the needs service coordination for American Indian and Alaskan Native community members across LA County. In addition, each SPA and the AIC have community-based councils for promoting community engagement and input into County processes. Some examples of activities happening in the SPAs include:

  • assessing the health needs of local communities and promoting a strength-based approach to addressing problems;
  • providing services through various County Departments including clinics and community-based agencies;
  • coordinating programs designed to promote health, prevent disease and improve the well-being of residents of the County;
  • promoting collaboration between community groups and County government to improve the health of local residents.

(Adapted from “What is a SPA” - Los Angeles County Department of Health Services website.)


What priority areas have been approved for funding under the Healthy Births Initiative?

The First 5 LA approved funding for Best Babies Collaboratives in these priority communities:

LA Best Babies Network, the Healthy Births Advisory Board, HBLC members and First 5 LA all agree that there is no “quick-fix” that will improve pregnancy and birth outcomes for LA County women and families. Significant need exists throughout all of Los Angeles County, but within the County there are areas of greatest need. First 5 LA has approved investment of concentrated funds in two large areas that represent communities of highest need.


How were the Healthy Births Initiative funded areas chosen?

  • These areas were selected because they have both high numbers and high proportions of adverse outcomes or conditions in the SPA(s) as well as higher proportions of total L.A. County births.
  • We identified areas of greatest need within each SPA, using:
  • A system that produced a summary score for several perinatal risk indicators (infant mortality, low birthweight, late onset or no prenatal care, teen birth, number and proportion of women on Medi-Cal) and the proportion of women living on incomes below 200% of the federal poverty level; and
  • The area’s state of readiness;
  • The designated areas include approximately 50% of the births in Antelope Valley and approximately 30% of the births in SPAs 4, 6, 7, and 8. [Zipcode Map]