When she was a public health administrator for the state of California, Kathryn Hall-Trujillo found that her greatest challenge was paying for babies who were born sick.
“The figure we were working with at that time was about $300,000 … to stabilize a baby for the first 90 days,” said Hall-Trujillo, who worked for the state from 1976-1991.
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At the same time, she said, it cost just $2,000 to ensure pregnant mothers received all the care they needed for a healthy pregnancy and proper delivery.
The staggering disparity, along with troubling rates of infant mortality in America, compelled Hall-Trujillo, 62, to find a solution.
“It occurred to me that one of the things that we could do that would cost hardly anything was to make sure that moms who were at risk … [were] really connected to care,” she said.
What Hall-Trujillo came up with was Birthing Project USA. Since 1988, the nonprofit organization has been battling high infant-mortality rates by pairing soon-to-be moms with volunteer “sister friends” who provide guidance and support through the pregnancy and first year of the baby’s life.