BIH Program

The California Black Infant Health (BIH) Program aims to improve health among African American mothers and babies and to reduce the Black: White disparities by empowering pregnant and mothering African American women to make healthy choices for themselves, their families, and their communities.


Did You Know?

Approximately one in seven African American babies in California is born too early or too small

African American babies are more than twice as likely as White babies to die before their first birthdays

African American women are much more likely than White women to die of pregnancy-related complications

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you help me get a prenatal care doctor?
We can provide you with a list of doctors in your area.

Do you assist with utility bills?
No, but BIH will assist by making referrals to community-based programs to assist with paying your utilities if possible.

Can you help me find housing?
We make referrals to agencies that will assist in finding housing.

Can you help me with food?
We can make referrals to food resources in the community (i.e., Food Bank locations and times).

Do you provide childcare?
No, but we can refer you to appropriate agencies. Children under school age are also allowed to attend the Group Sessions.

BIH Program Services

Our FREE and VOLUNTARY services are provided by Family Health Advocates, a Mental Health Professional and a Public Health Nurse and include the following:

  1. Prenatal and Postpartum Educational Intervention Group Sessions. These groups are designed to encourage and support a healthy pregnancy; and provide information and educate Participants on postpartum and infant care.
  2. Culturally—Sensitive Case Management. The BIH Program model uses a social service-oriented enhanced case management model that focuses on (a) identifying and triage Participant needs and facilitate access to prenatal and postpartum supportive services (to medical care as needed), while at the same time, (b) working with the client to identify and build on her strengths and resources to problem-solve, and obtain the services and support she needs.
  3. Support of Early and Continuous Prenatal Care
  4. Linkages to Related Community Resources and Services
  5. Advocacy of timely Immunizations and Well Baby Check-Ups Exams being up-to-date


A woman is eligible for entry into BIH if she meets the following criteria:

  • Is a self-identified African American woman who is up to 30 weeks pregnant
  • Is 18 years of age or older
  • Resides within Greater Bakersfield
  • Consents to actively participate in the entire BIH program including:
    →Group intervention
    →Individual enhanced case management
    →Consent to release information from her prenatal care provider and from her baby’s birth certificate information

Any woman that does not meet the criteria for BIH but would still like services may be referred to
erinatal Outreach Program.

black family - mother nursing son


If you would like to refer yourself or another person to BIH, please contact:

Chrystal Sheppard
BIH Coordinator

(661) 868-0521

Asia Forero
Office Services Technician
(661) 868-0370

Emmetta K. Harris
Mental Health Professional

(661) 868-0499

Mary Mercer
Public Health Nurse II
(661) 868-0422

Lizzetta Tatum
Family Health Advocate

(661) 868-0357

Tanya Bradford
Family Health Advocate
(661) 868-0385

Nathalie Soto
Community Outreach Liaison
(661) 868-1208

Vanessa Nunez
Lead Group Facilitator
(661) 868-0481

You may also prepare a referral form and fax to (661) 868-1291