Doyle Lauds Pittsburgh Healthy Start Grant

Washington, DC – U.S. Representative Mike Doyle (D-PA-14) expressed satisfaction at the news that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) awarded a grant of more than $9 million to Healthy Start Pittsburgh for its efforts to eliminate disparities in the region’s infant mortality rates.

“I applaud Healthy Start Pittsburgh for their excellent record of combating infant mortality and health disparities, and I am excited that they will have these additional resources to continue their outstanding work, ” Congressman Doyle said after learning of the grant announcement. “I believe the fact that Healthy Start Pittsburgh received one of the largest grants awarded demonstrates HHS’s recognition of both the severity of the problem in this region and the strength of Pittsburgh’s proposal for addressing it.”

The Department of Health and Human Services awarded roughly $400 million in Healthy Start Initiative Grants to several dozen organizations nationwide to support their efforts to eliminate disparities in perinatal health. Healthy Start Pittsburgh was one of the applicants chosen from nearly 150 organizations that applied for these grants.

Healthy Start Pittsburgh will receive this funding over the next five years – $1,421,155 this year, and $2 million every subsequent year for the next four years.

This grant will help Healthy Start Pittsburgh expand system capacity to eliminate health disparities, especially in African-Americans, enhance the perinatal delivery system, develop service capacity to address gaps and barriers to service, promote community involvement, heighten community awareness about the need for early prenatal care, and foster linkages among healthcare providers.

Healthy Start works to lower infant mortality rates, reduce low weight births, and eliminate health disparities. As one of the first 15 Healthy Start projects nationwide, Healthy Start Pittsburgh has been a pioneer and a model for tackling this critical issue.

“The disparity in infant mortality rates in Allegheny County is unacceptable, and much more needs to be done to bring minority infant mortality rates down,” Congressman Doyle observed. “I have supported this effort throughout my service in Congress, and I contacted HHS in support of Healthy Start Pittsburgh’s application for this grant.”

The disparity in infant mortality rates has been reduced in Allegheny County since the Healthy Start program began in 1991, but the infant mortality rate for African-Americans in Allegheny County is still nearly 4 times higher than that for whites (18.3 deaths per 1,000 live births for African-Americans versus 5.0 for Caucasians between 2007 and 2009).