Fort Worth Officials Address Maternal and Infant Health Disparities in Tarrant County

  • February 28, 2024

Hoodline | In a comprehensive update on infant and maternal health in Fort Worth and Tarrant County, local officials are tackling disparities head-on. A recent city council briefing laid out the steps being taken to assist mothers and children in the area, according to Best Place for Working Parents’ Sadie Funk and the Miles Foundation’s Sara Redington, according to the City of Fort Worth.

Fort Worth Officials Address Maternal and Infant Health Disparities in Tarrant County

While Texas delivers a whopping 10% of U.S. births each year, Tarrant County faces a grim reality where infant mortality rates swing drastically by ZIP code, and the region ranks second in maternal fatalities among Black women in the state. These statistics have spurred actions to understand and address the prenatal and postpartum needs of local women. The coalition’s research, buoyed by Zero to Thrive at Michigan Medicine, highlighted disparities and identified potential improvements in care.

One critical finding from the documents presented was that a significant number of mothers in the area crave more proactive mental health support during and after pregnancy. Exactly 31% of women surveyed expressed a need for preventive mental health care, as shared by the officials during their presentation.

Despite a strong network of healthcare services in Fort Worth, many mothers grapple with navigating the system. A shocking 65% of survey respondents named complicated healthcare logistics as a major hurdle, indicating a broad disconnect between available services and the families that need them,

To bridge these gaps, innovative tools like Help Me Grow and Parent Pass are being championed. The former is a referral resource navigation system for maternal health providers, while the latter is a free app offering vetted maternal health resources, which has already reached 8,000 parents.

Mayor Mattie Parker sees a bright future thanks to concerted efforts from the community, healthcare, and philanthropic sectors. “We have the resources to ensure mothers and babies in Fort Worth and Tarrant County can thrive, and we are determined to close the gaps that many families are still facing in reaching them,” Parker said, per the City of Fort Worth. Parker’s comments, addressing the transparency of the council’s meeting, echo a resolve to make a tangible difference in the lives of local families.

Looking ahead, the coalition aims to develop a closed-loop referral system, a game-changer set to link a plethora of health partners and resources with the thousands of mothers and babies in Tarrant County in need of care.

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