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Comunidad Materna en Utah receives $370,000 grant to help more mothers

Posted at 9:33 PM, Jun 26, 2023

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah has one of the highest birth rates in the country, CDC data shows. Yet many women in the state are not getting the help they need to become mothers.

Many low-income Spanish-speaking women in Utah are not getting the help they need to become mothers, said Mayra Sanchez, the executive director of Comunidad Materna en Utah.

"We want to provide a place and a space for these mothers, where they can find information, support, opportunities, and connection," she said.

Sanchez said only 50 percent of U.S. families who are eligible for the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women Infants and Children, or WIC, are taking advantage of it.

Thanks to a new federal grant, Comunidad Materna is dedicating $372,451 towards outreach and engagement in Hispanic and Pacific Islander communities. Malia Tomasi, a birth and postpartum doula, said this is especially important for the Pacific Islander community, which has a low birth rate and health disparities.

"I think it's so important that when you have somebody that looks like you and somebody that you trust providing that information," she said. "Making an appointment, filling out paperwork can be a lot for a mom that's going through postpartum."

WIC's benefits range from longer, safer pregnancies with fewer premature births and infant deaths to improved nutrition for infants and children and improved performance at school, plus savings in health care costs, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

You can learn more about applying for the WIC program in Utah here.