The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health Perinatal Equity Initiative (PEI) in collaboration with Riverside County PEI and other partners, hosted the second biannual Perinatal Equity Summit and Community Day from April 12-13 to address disparities in birth outcomes in the Black community. 

The first day, known as Provider Day, focused on gathering medical, mental health and birth worker providers throughout Southern California to address past, current and future obstetrical practices. The second day, known as Community Day, was dedicated to honoring and celebrating Black women and their families.

PEI aims to supplement the support provided through the department’s Black Infant Health program with the shared goals of reducing Black maternal and infant mortality, while advancing health equity by eliminating health disparities. Provider Day brought in 107 participants from San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and San Diego counties. The Provider Day Summit included a variety of activities including:

  • An engaging panel focused on maternal health from the perspective of a midwife, maternal fetal medicine provider, doula, mental health professional and Black mom and dad.
  • A case study focusing on the intersection of perinatal health inequities and cesarean rates among Black women provided by Dr. Brenda Ross, MD, a board-certified Maternal-Fetal Medicine (MFM) physician at UCR Health Inland Empire Women’s Health Center.
  • A keynote speaker addressing the root causes of health inequity for Black women and their babies, delivered by nationally acclaimed Dr. Ronald Wyatt, MD MHA, CEO and founder of Achieving Health Equity, LLC, and senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Community Day celebrated 105 participants from San Bernardino and Riverside counties. Featuring 50 vendors, attendees engaged in a panel discussion on maternal loss, enjoyed self-care stations, and spent time with family and friends at the kid’s zone.

According to the California Department of Public Health, Black babies are three to four times more likely to die before their first birthday. Black women are four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women of other races/ethnicities. These poor birth outcomes persist even when Black women are pregnant at an optimal age, have high income, and are well educated.

The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health offers solutions to combat chronic stress and its harmful impact on maternal and infant health outcomes through its Black Infant Health Program’s social support and case management services, as well as doula support, and the 24/7 Dad Fatherhood Program through the PEI.

The Perinatal Equity Initiative seeks your support in advancing maternal health conversations. To learn more about the Black Infant Health program, or the Perinatal Equity Initiative, visit or contact Elizabeth Amezcua at

Additional County Update News – May 9, 2024

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