Community Health Center of Richmond Received a $500,000 Grant from Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation to Advance Maternal Health Outcomes

A $500,000 grant from Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation will help narrow the maternal health inequity gap across Staten Island and surrounding communities.

To celebrate the start of Black Maternal Health Week, Empire BlueCross BlueShield Foundation today presented a $500,000 grant to the Community Health Center of Richmond, Inc. (“CHCR”) to improve maternal and child health outcomes in the borough of Richmond County, Staten Island, New York. The grant will support CHCR’s ongoing work to sustain healthy
pregnancies, reduce preterm births, and foster strong parenting by improving access to culturally competent, quality prenatal and postpartum care.

“High quality, culturally competent maternal healthcare not only ensures the health and wellbeing of moms and babies, but also serves as a vital public health resource that lifts up and supports entire families, communities and health systems across New York,” said Mark Levy, MD, President, Empire BlueCross BlueShield HealthPlus. “This latest partnership between Empire and CHCR is going to help build a brighter, healthier future for mothers and babies throughout the state.”

CHCR will utilize grant funds to:
1. Expand maternal health education for patients during their third trimester, including childbirth education, birthing plans and empowering women to speak with their caregivers.
2. Expand postpartum follow-up and create more opportunities to connect families with resources.
3. Implement group prenatal care model, Centering Pregnancy, and expand cohorts across CHCR’s locations.
4. Support Staten Island Perinatal Network for Better Birth Outcomes as it transitions from a coalition to an independent sustainable not-for-profit corporation.
5. Grow innovative partnerships with select chapters of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. (one of the nation’s oldest Black fraternities) to increase breastfeeding education and awareness across the communities of each alumni chapter.

According to the New York Department of Health, the maternal mortality rate in New York was 18.9 per 100,000 live births, and women with less than a high school education are almost three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than women with at least a college degree. Additionally, Black women are almost four times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than white women.

CHCR and Empire celebrated the grant announcement with a check presentation ceremony at CHCR’s health center located at 135 Canal Street, 3rd Floor, Staten Island, New York, that featured remarks from CHCR CEO, Dr. Henry Thompson, Empire BlueCross BlueShield HealthPlus President Dr. Mark Levy, medical experts and borough representatives, including Drs. Anthony Ferreri, Joseph Conte, and Ginny Mantello.

The parent foundation of Empire BlueCross BlueShield has committed nearly $30 million in grants through 2024 to make significant progress on improving maternal and child health outcomes across the country.