Bon Secours and Urban Baby Beginnings recently launched an innovative partnership that provides free, accessible perinatal and postpartum care to uninsured expectant mothers in the Richmond area. Medical care is provided via the Bon Secours Care-A-Van, and comprehensive social support services are provided by Urban Baby Beginnings. These services may include midwifery, doula and lactation support, home visits, care coordination, and wellness services, among others. This is the first mobile maternity clinic with full wrap-around social support services in the region.

“Collaborations and co-investments are essential to our ability to quickly adapt to the changing needs of our community,” said Tyler Agee, director of community development, Bon Secours - Richmond. “This partnership aligns the unique maternal health expertise of Urban Baby Beginnings with the robust clinical care delivery model of the Care-A-Van. We are now able to bring mobile maternal health services to the community at no cost to the patient.”

The decision to expand the Bon Secours Care-A-Van’s health care services through a partnership with Urban Baby Beginnings “came as a result of identifying the health care needs of the community and the Care-A-Van’s patient population,” said Kerrissa MacPherson, Women’s and Children’s Coordinator, Bon Secours - Richmond. “To best serve the needs of uninsured expectant mothers, this maternal clinic will bring together Bon Secours’ mobile clinical care expertise and Urban Baby Beginning’s expertise in providing wrap-around social support for growing families.” 

The Bon Secours Care-A-Van is a mobile medical home that provides comprehensive primary care and specialty care services six days a week to uninsured patients throughout the Greater Richmond area. The Care-A-Van, which began as a small vaccine clinic more than 25 years ago, now delivers wrap-around health services including chronic disease management and prevention, behavioral health counseling, childhood immunizations and social needs assistance. More than 13,000 patients in the region – who otherwise have limited or no access to affordable healthcare – visit the Care-A-Van each year. 

Each week, the Care-A-Van team sets up a primary care clinic within the walls of 13 partner churches providing services on a first come, first serve basis. Nearly 50 percent of the staff working at the Care-A-Van are bilingual in English and Spanish and bring expertise in cultural competence and health literacy to patient care delivery. The Care-A-Van team also maintains an outreach team of navigators solely dedicated to offsetting the negative effects of the social determinants of health.

Urban Baby Beginnings, a non-profit organization headquartered in Richmond, believes all families should have access to non-biased and accessible maternal health care, no matter their background or economic standing. Urban Baby Beginnings’ community-based perinatal programs and integrative, culturally sensitive care models have resulted in thousands of families receiving maternal and child health social support services each year. With a 25 year community-led history, Urban Baby Beginnings demonstrates that social support services are an integral part of care for growing families and seeks to ensure that the organization’s motto, "it takes a village," remains a top priority.

"Urban Baby Beginnings and Bon Secours are aligned in their missions and beliefs that every expectant mother should have access to high-quality wrap-around services, especially during the perinatal and postpartum periods,” said Stephanie Spencer, executive director, Urban Baby Beginnings. “By partnering with Bon Secours and the Care-A-Van, we are strengthening our collective missions and improving access to maternal health services, including midwifery care, doula and lactation support, home visits, care coordination and wellness services to the people with some of the greatest needs in our community."

This collaboration is possible in large part through a Community Innovation Grant from the Robins Foundation. “The Robins Foundation is thrilled to support this innovative project. Ensuring all Richmond-area women have access to quality perinatal supports is of critical importance to the region. Not only will the Urban Baby Beginnings & Bon Secours Care-a-Van partnership help reduce racial disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes, it will set client families up with a strong start that will ripple throughout communities and schools. Richmond will reap the benefits of establishing this maternal mobile health clinic for generations to come,” said Kelly Chopus, president & CEO, Robins Foundation.