Health Ministry Toolkit

Health ministry has long been my passion and calling. Even before health ministry became common in the Black Church, I shared my public health nursing expertise with my local church. I helped members understand their medication regime and link to affordable health services and prescriptions. I screened for high blood pressure and provided resources or counseling to help them understand their health conditions. When the opportunity to formally study faith community nursing as a specialty presented itself, I jumped at the opportunity to pursue my passion. I was in the first graduating class from my seminary with a graduate degree in Ministry and a concentration in Faith Community Nursing.

Combining ministry education and nursing with my calling to serve the people of God has been my joy.  I’ve continued the joy of this work for over 17 years. It is now my honor to make myself available to the broader faith community through B'more for Healthy Babies’ Faith-Based Initiative. My goal is to work with church ministries to help them understand how faith intersects with health practices and how they can introduce maternal and child health into their church culture. I look forward to partnering with you in this great work to support young families, pregnant and postpartum women, and babies to thrive and be healthy.

- Rev. Angela Burden, RN

Faith communities have long understood the call to heal the sick and care for the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. But what if that call could be extended to the prevention of disease that will improve the health of generations to come? 


When we support mothers and their partners to be as healthy as possible before, during, and after pregnancy – and to provide a safe and healthy home for their baby – we are helping families today and investing in the future. By making sure that every baby has the best start possible, we can feel more confident that when those babies grow up to be healthier adults, they’ll have healthier babies, too!


The Health Ministry Toolkit was designed by B’more for Healthy Babies to help faith communities focus on promoting maternal and child health in their congregations and communities. Whether you’re just starting to plan for a health ministry, or your church already has one, this toolkit is for you. We have advice, tips, and links to resources for health ministries of every size and type!

If you would like additional assistance, please contact Rev.  Angela Burden, MA, RN at ABHeiress@gmail.com or 443-983-1184.

What is a health ministry?


A health ministry is a program within a place of worship that is devoted to keeping members healthy. It is an organized way to give members information and services that promote health and wellness. Health ministries can offer many types of activities, depending on the skills, expertise, and interests of their members.




What causes disparities in health outcomes for black babies?


There are many factors that influence the health of Black mothers, their babies, and their families. The health effects of experiencing racism are widely documented, particularly its impact on stress levels and hypertension. Related issues include:

  • History of trauma (abuse, neglect, intergenerational drug use, intimate partner violence)
  • Stress and mental health
  • Housing instability
  • Low educational attainment
  • Lead exposure
  • Substance use, including tobacco
  • Access to quality health care
All of the above have an impact on maternal health, birth outcomes, and healthy families. But your church can have an impact as well – in a positive way.




Why is it important for a health ministry to focus on the periods of pregnancy and early childhood?


When B’more for Healthy Babies (BHB) was founded in 2009, a Black infant was 5 times more likely to die than a White infant. These deaths have a devastating impact on the family and their support networks. BHB’s goal is to reduce infant deaths and the suffering they cause to families. Over the past 10 years we have reduced the infant death disparity by more than half. Still, today a Black infant is twice as likely to die as a white infant. We have made progress, but there is still much more to be done. We also work to protect the lives of mothers before, during, and after pregnancy, and to help babies thrive in the first few years of life.




What can we do to make sure that every baby is born ready to thrive?


There’s a lot your health ministry can do to promote good health for mothers, babies and families. You can distribute free educational materials, hold events such as baby showers, and help families connect with support groups and health care services. Just having the right information and knowing where to go for resources can go a long way toward improving health. Depending upon the skill set available in your health ministry, you may be able to provide blood pressure screenings and other direct services, too.





Questions?

Reach out to Rev. Angela Burden, RN, B’more for Healthy Babies Faith Community Nurse Coordinator for assistance with creating or enhancing a health ministry in your church. 

Ready to get started?

Learn more by clicking on the links below.

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Sponsored by the

Office of Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young,

Baltimore City Health DepartmentFamily League of Baltimore, and HealthCare Access Maryland

 

Made possible by generous funding from CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, City of Baltimore, Maryland Department of Health, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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