AUSTIN (KXAN) — Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) along with Huston-Tillotson University started a program called “Boldly B.L.U.E.” The goal of the program is to empower mothers in Texas.

The “B.L.U.E.” stands for Birthing, Learning, Understanding and Empowering.

The program is part of BCBSTX’s expanded special beginnings initiative, which aims to increase the number of diverse doulas, midwives and certified lactation consultants in Central Texas.

It also strives to create a maternal health research network to strengthen the practices of birth workers. 

For example, Huston-Tillotson said it would provide entrepreneurship workshops and mentoring for those in this line of work.

All of this is in the hope of improving Texas maternal and infant health, particularly for marginalized groups.

Dr. Amanda Masino, Huston-Tillotson’s chair of Natural Sciences, spoke on the statistics that led to the development of the program.

“In Texas, Black birth givers are 2.3 times more likely to die because of childbirth, and here in Travis County, the statistic is 2.5 times more likely … Simply put, these birth workers protect the health of mothers and infants. We need more of them,” Masino said.

The expansion of this initiative comes from recommendations in the 2022 joint report by the Texas Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Review Committee and the Department of State Health Services.