Healthy Start EPIC Center logo

Healthy Start Program

What is Healthy Start?

About page faded image

The Health Resources and Services  Administration (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau’s (MCHB) Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services (DHSPS) leads and guides national efforts to improve the health outcomes of mothers and women, through several initiatives. Since 1991, the Healthy Start Initiative: Eliminating Disparities in Perinatal Health (Healthy Start) Program has invested in communities to improve health outcomes before, during, and after pregnancy.

Local Healthy Start (HS) projects tailor services to the needs of their communities to help reduce racial and ethnic differences in rates of infant death and maternal health outcomes. Funding goes to communities experiencing high rates of adverse outcomes, including infant mortality rates at least 1.5x the U.S. national average OR high rates of preterm birth, low birth weight, and maternal illness.

In recent years, HRSA launched two related, special initiatives. Since 2022, the Catalyst for Infant Health Equity Program has aimed to 1) Continue reducing overall infant mortality rates in the US; and 2) Decrease and ultimately eliminate disparities in infant mortality across racial/ethnic groups by achieving steeper declines for groups with the highest rates.

Since 2023, the Healthy Start Initiative – Enhanced (HSE) Program has aimed to support projects in diverse communities and populations (e.g., rural, urban, non-Hispanic Black, American Indian/Alaskan Native [AI/AN]) experiencing the greatest disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes.

Learn more about the HS Program.

A Brief History of Healthy Start

"Healthy Start Is..."

Hear HS Project Directors from around the country describe the essence of the HS program. Grantees can use this video to introduce the HS program to community partners, show it at community meetings, or post it to their websites.