UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program

Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: Los Angeles Best Babies Collaborative (LABBC) Center for Healthy Births, Maternal Nutrition
Los Angeles, CA
Jan French
Student Name: Sara Harris
Year: 2005

I spent the summer and into the fall interning at the LABBC Center for Healthy Births (Center). The Center receives funding from First 5 LA and has been charged with addressing negative birth outcomes, specifically risk factors that occur during the interconception period, the period between the births of two babies, that negatively affect future birth outcomes. The Center’s mission is to provide the infrastructure, programs, advocacy and support to enhance capacity of the network of community stakeholders working to achieve healthy births. They are working towards achieving their mission through work in each of those areas.

As part of their advocacy and capacity building work, the Center was trying to establish a nutrition policy and provide easy-to-access nutrition information to maternal health care providers that will be passed along to their patients. My work for the Center included researching maternal nutrition, writing a nutrition policy paper, and putting together nutrition information for inclusion on the Center’s maternal nutrition web-page. Most of this work was independent, but with the support and guidance of my preceptor.

In addition to the nutrition-related work, I had the opportunity to participate in collaborative meetings that brought different community groups together as they made action plans for their efforts to improve birth outcomes. I also was able to participate in the Center’s Town Hall meeting and Perinatal Summit, both of which were efforts to understand the needs and wants of the community. The data from both of these events was synthesized and used to shape the Center’s policy stance with regards to perinatal care, maternal education, health care services, and health insurance, all of which affect birth outcomes. The work mentioned above was done with the staff of the Center, a passionate group of people dedicated to improving birth outcomes in Los Angeles County.

I feel very fortunate to have had the internship experience that I had. I was able to work with people from whom I learned the specifics of both perinatal health and public health in general. In the end, I felt that I had not only learned about maternal nutrition, but also had a better understanding of the field of public health and had the opportunity to meet and work with a wonderful group of people.


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