This funding record is inactive. Please see the program website or contact the program sponsor to determine if this program is currently accepting applications or will open again in the future.

Healthy Start Initiative: Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health


Additional Links

Notice of Funding Opportunity (


Application Deadline: Nov 27, 2018

Sponsoring Organization

Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)


Offers funding to communities to address high rates of infant death and other adverse perinatal outcomes, such as low birthweight, preterm birth, and maternal morbidity and mortality, affecting racial/ethnic minority populations. Provides services to women and families before, during, and after pregnancy to reduce infant deaths, reduce racial/ethnic disparities, improve birth outcomes, and improve the health and well-being of mothers, infants, children, and families. Programs must serve communities with infant mortality rates at least 1.5 times the U.S. national average and support families for the first 18 months after birth.

Program activities should:

  • Improve women's health - Activities to improve coverage, access to care, health promotion and prevention, and the health of women before, during, and after pregnancy.
  • Improve family health and wellness - Activities to improve infant health and development using a two-generational strategy approach. Supports system coordination, integration, health promotion and prevention, and social services to advance parental and infant/child health and well-being.
  • Promote systems change - Activities to address the social determinants of health through community action, such as system coordination and integration among health and social services, other providers, and key state and community leaders.
  • Assure program impact and effectiveness - Supports for workforce development, and other activities for Healthy Start program data collection, quality improvement, performance monitoring, and evaluation to ensure the overall effectiveness of the program.

All Healthy Start projects should serve no less than 700 program participants per year and include at least:

  • 300 pregnant women
  • 300 infants/children up to 18 months, preconception women, and interconception women combined
  • 100 fathers or male partners affiliated with Healthy Start women/infants/children

Programs that do not meet these service numbers may be subject to funding restriction or drawdowns.

More information about Healthy Start program goals, strategic approaches, services, and performance measures can be found online.

Amount of Funding

Award ceiling:

  • Year 1: $950,000
  • Years 2 - 5: $980,000 per year

Project period: 5 years
Estimated number of awards: 100 with up to 25 grants awarded to projects serving rural communities
Estimated total program funding: $95,000,000

Applicants may request up to $120,000 per year of additional funding to hire clinical service providers for the direct provision of well-woman care and maternity care services.

No more than six grants per state will be awarded, and only one project will be funded for each project area.

Who Can Apply

Any domestic public or private entities, including Indian tribes and tribal organizations, and domestic faith-based and community-based organizations are eligible to apply.

Applicants must define a project area and target population in their proposal using the following criteria:

Eligible Project Area is a geographic community in which proposed services will be implemented. Project areas must represent a reasonable and logical catchment area, but the area does not need to be contiguous. Areas must be identified as either an urban, rural, or other project area:

  • Urban is defined as territory, population, and housing units located within an urbanized area (UA) or an urban cluster (UC), which has: a population density of at least 1,000 people per square mile; and surrounding census blocks with an overall density of at least 500 people per square mile.
  • Rural, whether it is a census tract or county, is determined by the Rural Health Grants Eligibility Analyzer.
  • Other is defined as a project area that does not meet the definition of an urban or rural area, but still meets the other eligibility criteria for this program.

Eligible Target Population is the population served within the geographic project area and should be the population with the highest infant mortality rate (IMR) within the project area. Most of the Healthy Start program services and resources should focus on the target population.

Eligibility Factors Demonstrating Need is the data and statistics applicants must submit demonstrating an IMR of at least 1.5 times higher than the U.S. national average and high rates of other adverse perinatal outcomes. If available, the IMR must be the primary statistic used to determine eligibility in all cases. More information on determining and submitting the project area and target population details can be found in the funding announcement.

Geographic Coverage


What This Program Funds

Equipment • New Program • Operating Costs and Staffing • Training Providers

Application Process

Application instructions, requirements, and other information about the online application process are available in the funding announcement.

Applicant webinar


For programmatic or technical questions:
Benita Baker, MS

M. Sonsy Fermin, MSW, LCSW

For grants management or budget questions:
Tonya Randall

Rural Awards

Past awards communities received in fiscal year (FY) 2020 are described on the program website.

Rural communities that have received funding include:

  • Indiana Rural Health Association in Linton, Indiana
  • Inter-Tribal Council of Michigan in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan
  • University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • Little Dixie Community Action Agency in Hugo, Oklahoma
  • South Carolina Office of Rural Health in Lexington, South Carolina
  • County of Laurens in Georgia

Topics This Program Addresses

Community Planning and Coalition Building • Health and Wellness • Health Education for Community and Patients • Healthcare Workforce • Parents, Families, and Children • Social Services • Women