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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Program History (PPE)

In May 2007, the Office of Minority Health (OMH) of the Department of Health and Human Services launched a national program – A Healthy Baby Begins with You- as part of its initiatives to eliminate health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities in the U.S. The objective of this program is to raise awareness about the disproportionately high infant mortality rates among African Americans, as well as to underscore the importance and to encourage the adoption of preconception and inter-conception health behaviors as a key measure to help prevent infant mortality.

Complementing these efforts, the Office of Minority Health Resource Center, a federally funded project of the U.S. DHHS OMH, launched a Preconception Peer Educator (PPE) Program, with the aim of reaching the college population with targeted health messages emphasizing preconception health and care; training college and graduate students as peer educators; and arming peer educators with tools to train their peers in college and in the community at large.

The initial PPE Training occurred at the following colleges and universities:

  1. Fisk University & Meharry Medical College, Nashville, TN
  2. Spelman College, Atlanta, GA
  3. Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD
  4. University of Pennsylvania, School of Nursing Philadelphia, PA

Regional trainings were also organized in Louisiana, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Washington, DC metro area, Kansas, Texas, North Carolina, California, Florida and Tennessee.

A key event was the Higher Knowledge, Higher Service, the College to Community Health Outreach Week, which was held in Memphis, TN in 2009. This event encompassed both the professional healthcare community and the community at large.  With key community and state partners such as the Tennessee Department of Health, Shelby Country Infant Mortality Reduction Initiative—All Babies Count and several Historically Black Colleges and Universities, PPEs were able to spread the message of preconception health and infant mortality prevention through several well attended community events over the course of the week.
Since that time PPEs have participated in major events during Infant Mortality Month and Minority Health Month. 

Today, the program continues to foster infant mortality awareness in college-age students nationwide. Since its inception, the program has expanded nationwide with thousands of peer educators trained.

6/23/2017 1:49:00 PM