Healthy Start

This initiative aims to:

  • Improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy
  • Reduce racial & ethnic differences in rates of infant deaths and negative maternal health outcomes

Local projects enroll women, infants, children and partners, including children up to 18 months. They tailor their services to their local community’s needs.

How we help women and their families

We invest in communities with infant mortality rates that are at least one and a half times the U.S. national average. As of 2021, HRSA awarded over $100 million to 101 Healthy Start Award Recipients in 35 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Local projects have an impact on not just the individual, but also the overall community by conducting activities such as:

  • Health care services
    • Prenatal, post-partum, well-baby, youth care, reproductive life planning, and women’s health
    • Screening and referral to services for depression, substance use, and interpersonal violence
  • Services that increase access to health care and improve health outcomes
    • Outreach & case management
    • Screening & referrals for healthcare, insurance, and social services such as WIC, home visiting, and doula services
    • Parenting skill building, self-esteem building, child care, father support, and translation
    • Transportation, housing assistance, job training, prison/jail-based services
  • Public Health Services
    • Immunization and health education (for example, smoking cessation, youth pregnancy prevention, childbirth education, breastfeeding & nutrition)
  • Provider training
    • Continuing education & training on best practices for Healthy Start staff and community partners

Building partnerships

Awardees partner within local communities to build upon a community’s existing resources to improve the quality of, and access to, healthcare and other supports.

Every Healthy Start project has a Community Action Network (CAN). Neighborhood residents, community leaders, consumers, medical & social service providers, faith-based leaders, and business representatives make up the CAN.

The CAN addresses:

  • Fragmented service delivery
  • Creating culturally and linguistically appropriate services

Awardees collaborate with other local programs and at the federal and state levels. Some collaborations include:

Gathering data and tracking progress

HRSA and awardees regularly collect project and participant data to monitor and evaluate ongoing activities. HRSA collects data through the Healthy Start Monitoring and Evaluation Data System, which collects participant-level data.

Awardee resources

Healthy Start EPIC Center Exit Disclaimer: provides expertise and training for the Healthy Start awardees to strengthen their work.

CAREWare database: a database for Healthy Start awardees for case management and reporting

Funding details

Contact Us

Benita Baker, MS
Healthy Start Branch Chief

Date Last Reviewed:  October 2021