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Blue Cross NC is accepting collaborative proposals for a three-part initiative to address racial disparities in Black, American Indian and Hispanic communities.

In the first phase of the initiative, Blue Cross is seeking proposals that will address maternal and infant outcomes.

The deadline for submitting these proposals is November 12 and the company is committing $2 million to support evidence-based strategies that significantly improve infant and maternal health outcomes.

The effort comes as North Carolina has the 11th highest infant mortality rate in the country, with alarming racial disparities, Blue Cross said. 

African American and American Indian babies are 2.4 times more likely to die in the first year of life than White babies.  

In Halifax County, from 2015 to 2019, infant mortality was 7 per thousand births for White babies, 21 per thousand for Black babies, and 2 per thousand for Hispanic babies, despite White people comprising 39.9 percent of the population, Black people comprising 53.8 percent and Hispanic people comprising 3.1 percent.

The programs are being launched over the next few months to provide strategic funding, capacity building for nonprofits and economic mobility for nonprofit organizations and government health entities serving rural and underserved communities and communities of color. 

The aim is to decrease the racial disparities in maternal and child health care by 50 percent in five years.

“Each and every person who gives birth deserves a safe and affirming pregnancy and delivery experience,” said Cheryl Parquet, director of community engagement and marketing activation at Blue Cross NC. “Some of our communities are seeing devastating outcomes on an unacceptably large scale. That’s why we’re investing in the programs and strategies that are making progress toward improving infant and maternal health outcomes for those most vulnerable.”

Informational webinar sessions will also be held to provide an overview of the application process and criteria.

Complete this form to learn more and register for an upcoming session.

The other two programs to be announced in the coming months will focus on:

Providing capacity building resources to support nonprofits with a mission to promote health equity, led by and for communities of color.​

Improving and expanding access to behavioral health providers among rural and other underserved communities.