Tarrant County Birth Equity Collaborative
The Tarrant County Birth Equity Collaborative (BEC), co-lead by Health Equity Alliance of Tarrant County (HEAL) and Tarrant County Public Health (TCPH), was formed to reduce racial inequities in maternal and infant health by identifying, planning, and implementing upstream and downstream strategies. BEC is one of CityMatCH’s BEST Cities initiatives, and consists of a diverse group of community members, parents, organizations, academic institutions, and health partners; and was established in June 2018. As a burgeoning collaborative, our work is to address the persistent racial/ethnic disparities in maternal and infant health in Texas. In Tarrant County, despite the decline in overall infant mortality rates, in 2016 Black infant mortality rate (9.33 deaths per 1,000 live births) was substantially higher than the white infant mortality rate (5.39 deaths per 1,000 live births) according to a TCPH Division of Epidemiology and Health Information Data Brief.
In addition, according to the 2018 Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and Department of State Health Services Joint Biennial Report, Tarrant County is located within the public health region with the 2nd highest maternal mortality rate among Black women in the state (48.3 deaths per 100,000 live births). Several of our BEC members will be leading the presentation: Misty Wilder, MSW, Reverend Barbara Dunlap, MA, Kyrah K. Brown, PhD, Erika Thompson, PhD, MPH.
During our presentation, we will talk about the Collaborative’s early work in forming the coalition and engaging community members, our strategies for establishing norms and values to build community, and our collaborative action planning processes. We will also discuss key barriers to this work including challenges related to forming a new, unfunded community-based collaborative (particularly during a pandemic), engaging community members, and so on. We will incorporate interactive exercises and discussion with our session attendees. Our hope is to share our accomplishments, barriers, and lessons learned to inspire other collaboratives doing similar work in Texas.
We are excited about our upcoming session at the Healthier Texas Summit on Wednesday, October 27th at 11:15am – 12:15am Central Time (will be available on demand). We would like to thank Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, UT System, and It’s Time Texas for the opportunity to present at the summit. We strongly encourage you to register for the 2021 Virtual Healthier Texas Summit so that you do not miss out on the equity-focused presentations that are scheduled for October 27th and 28th.
This blog was written by: Kyrah Brown, Assistant Professor, University of Texas Arlington.