MLK Community Healthcare receives $750,000 grant to expand maternity services in South LA

image of mom and baby

LOS ANGELES, CA, (May 29, 2024)—MLK Community Healthcare is thrilled to announce a grant of $750,000 from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation to expand maternity services for expectant and new mothers in South Los Angeles. Services supported include a full continuum of care, from prenatal through delivery and postpartum.

The expansion of MLKCH’s maternity program marks a significant step toward improving maternal health outcomes in South LA, a community disproportionately affected by health disparities. It comes at a critical time as hospitals across the country—including two in nearby communities—are closing their maternity departments due to labor shortages and financial pressures.

A shortage of obstetricians, lack of access to prenatal care and resources have created poor outcomes for pregnant women and infants in largely Black and Hispanic South LA. In Los Angeles County, Black women are four times more likely than women of other races to die as a result of pregnancy and delivery/postpartum complications; their infants have a mortality risk two to three times higher than babies of other races.

“We know from decades of research and recent tragic incidents that poor health outcomes for Black mothers and infants continue to plague our community, causing fear at a moment when there should be joy,” explains MLKCH CEO, Dr. Elaine Batchlor. “At MLKCH mothers are heard and supported during both prenatal care and labor and delivery. Our midwife-obstetrician collaboration model plays a critical role in improving outcomes. The gift from the Hilton Foundation is significant in ensuring that this model remains strong for all our families in South LA.”

Built upon the Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program (CPSP) model and leveraging our partnership between obstetricians and nurse midwives, MLKCH's program aims to improve maternal and child health outcomes.

With help from the Hilton Foundation, MLKCH has engaged a collaborative prenatal team that works together to address each patient’s full spectrum of needs. This team—which includes an obstetrician, midwife, dietician, health educator, psychologist, and social worker—will also leverage strong partnerships in the community, including existing partnerships with local birthing centers.

MLKCH builds on the trust and respect it has earned in South LA, creating a safe place where women of color can expect their needs and concerns to be heard. This trust is reflected in the many awards and recognitions the hospital’s labor and delivery department has received, including Baby Friendly status—a World Health Organization designation—a place on CalHospital Compare’s “Maternity Honor Roll,” for eight consecutive years and multiple awards from the California Maternal Quality Care Collaborative (CMQCC). MLKCH has been selected nationally as a model to learn from, featured recently in the CNN documentary Saving Black Moms.

“From the moment I got here, I felt peace,” said Tamara Robertson, who gave birth to her baby girl at MLKCH. “I think for Black women and folks of color, it’s important to feel safe when we’re birthing, and I feel extremely safe with MLKCH.”

“We’re thrilled to support the MLK Community Health Foundation and the expansion of their team-based perinatal program at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital,” states Lisa Bohmer, director of global early childhood development at the Hilton Foundation. “This comprehensive perinatal care model will improve birthing outcomes for hundreds of mothers in South Los Angeles.”

Dyan Sublett, President of the MLK Community Health Foundation, adds: “The Hilton Foundation has demonstrated their confidence in our ability to provide healthy outcomes for mothers and infants in South LA. We’re grateful to have their support.”

To learn more about maternal care at MLKCH, visit

About MLK Community Healthcare: MLK Community Healthcare is an integrated healthcare delivery system that serves the medically underserved community of South Los Angeles. MLKCH offers emergency and inpatient care through its hospital, MLK Community Hospital, and primary and specialty care through the MLK Community Medical Group, with practice sites in multiple locations throughout South Los Angeles. MLKCH also offers community health education and outreach to improve the health of our community. Since its opening in 2015, the hospital and health system has earned awards and headlines for its innovative approaches to quality, safety, and patient satisfaction.

About Conrad N. Hilton Foundation: International hotelier Conrad N. Hilton established the grantmaking foundation that bears his name in 1944 to help people living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage worldwide. Today, the work continues, concentrating on efforts to ensure healthy early childhood development and sustainable livelihoods for youth and refugee populations, support young people transitioning out of foster care, improve access to housing and support services for people experiencing homelessness, identify solutions to safe water access, and lift the work of Catholic sisters. Additionally, following selection by an independent, international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to an organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. The Foundation is one of the world’s largest, with approximately $7 billion in assets. It has awarded grants to date totaling more than $3.2 billion worldwide, and $290 million in 2023. Please visit for more information.

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