Newsroom | News Releases

  • Share to Linked in
  • Share to Facebook

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas Grants $1.2 million to Fund March of Dimes’ First Texas ‘Mom and Baby Mobile Health Center’

The collaboration continues BCBSTX’s statewide expansion of Special Beginnings® to improve maternal and infant health outcomes in Texas  

HOUSTON, Texas — Taking next steps to bridge gaps in maternal and infant health care access, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) announced today a $1.2 million grant to bring the first March of Dimes Mom & Baby Mobile Health Center® to Texas, which will be Houston-based and launch as early as fall 2024.

The grant is part of BCBSTX’s statewide expanded Special Beginnings maternal and infant health initiative, with a focus on the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Houston, RGV & Austin regions, to improve health outcomes for Texas moms and babies by identifying ways to reduce maternal morbidities, mortalities and health disparities.

The BCBSTX-funded mobile health center will be March of Dimes’ sixth unit and will offer, in partnership with a selected clinical provider, on-the-ground maternal programs such as support, education and health care to moms and moms-to-be where they live. The unit will help close access gaps for women and children by offering pre-conception, pregnancy, postpartum and newborn interventions, as well as primary, wellness and preventive care.

“In order to move the needle on maternal and infant health outcomes, it will take a collective effort. We are investing in nonprofits, like March of Dimes, so can work alongside each other to reduce barriers at a hyper-local level and scale their impact,” said Dr. Angela Moemeka, chief medical officer for Texas Medicaid at BCBSTX. “Considering the stark historical and ongoing statistics on maternal health disparities and maternal mental health, we recognize the role that comprehensive, value-based, person-centered and coordinated efforts play in ensuring health equity and high-quality care.”

Based on March of Dimes’ July 2023 Where You Live Matters: Maternity Care Deserts and the Crisis of Access and Equity report for Texas:

  • 20.4% of birthing people received no or inadequate prenatal care, greater than the U.S. rate of 14.8%.
  • Texas women with chronic health conditions have a 43% increased likelihood of preterm birth compared to women with none.
  • Overall, women in Texas have a very high vulnerability to adverse outcomes due to the availability of reproductive healthcare services. 

“We are uniquely positioned through purpose-driven partnerships, like with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, to serve underinsured or uninsured people in underserved communities regardless their ability to pay,” said Jen Torres, executive director of Houston-area March of Dimes. “Our approach, through our mobile health centers, is an aim to create a non-traditional avenue for women and newborns to overcome barriers and access to vital healthcare services, with the goal of improving birth outcomes, while also providing wraparound clinical and community services, such as housing, nutrition and more.”

Scheduled to launch in late 2024 or early 2025, the Houston-based mobile health center will be created and built from the ground up through a March of Dimes vendor and expert in the mobile unit field. The 30-foot unit will have two clinical rooms specially designed to provide women’s health services, an intake area where women and their families can check in, complete paperwork and wait for their appointment. In addition, the unit will include a bathroom, small lab area and a vaccine-compliant refrigeration system. The unit will also be retrofitted to include a generator, electricity for lighting and air conditioning and telematics.

The focuses of BCBSTX’s Special Beginnings expansion, which were guided by recommendations in the 2022 Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee and Department of State Health Services Joint Biennial Report, include:

  • Implementing quality-based maternal health programs that demonstrate a reduction in preterm/low birth weight babies and obstetric and postpartum emergencies;
  • Expanding access to comprehensive health services including behavioral health care during the preconception, prenatal, and postpartum periods; and
  • Increasing public awareness and community engagement to reduce maternal morbidity, mortality, and health disparities including the expansion of a culturally-aligned maternal health workforce.

BCBSTX continues to build on long-standing maternal and infant care programs as well as relationships with trusted local community organizations, health care providers and thought leaders to leverage their knowledge, experience and talents to increase access to care, reduce care gaps and educate and engage Texans at a local level.

As recently announced, BCBSTX is also collaborating with Hutson-Tillotson University, a historically Black college and university in Austin, to train doulas, midwives and support maternal health education in Central Texas.

“We are scaling the ways we reach and serve not just our members but all Texans by further strengthening programs in the communities we serve,” said Dr. Mark Chassay, BCBSTX vice president and chief medical officer. “Given our 95-year history in Texas, we stand together with the state, community partners and thought leaders finding solutions to improve maternal and infant health outcomes across Texas.”


About Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) — the only statewide, customer-owned health insurer in Texas — is the largest provider of health benefits in the state, working with more than 140,000 physicians and health care practitioners, and 520 hospitals to serve more than 7 million members in all 254 counties. BCBSTX is a Division of Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC) (which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans in Texas, Illinois, Montana, Oklahoma and New Mexico). Health Care Service Corporation is a Mutual Legal Reserve Company and an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About March of Dimes
March of Dimes leads the fight for the health of all moms and babies. We support research, lead programs and provide education and advocacy so that every family can have the best possible start. Building on a successful 85-year legacy, we support every pregnant person and every family. Visit or for more information. Find us on Facebook and follow us with #marchofdimes and @marchofdimes.

Media Contacts


March of Dimes, Houston Market
Jen Torres

A Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company, an Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association