BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Black women and infants in Kern County suffer from higher rates of complication and death than women and infants of other races, according to a report presented to the Kern County Board of Supervisors this morning.

Public Health Director Brynn Carrigan says, Black women in Kern are nearly four times more likely to die from maternal complications than other women.

She also says Black infants are born underweight nearly twice as often, and are one and a half times more likely to die before their first birthday.

A community committee known as the Black Infant and Maternal Health Initiative was formed to address these disparities.

Starting next month, the initiative says it will work to increase the amount of Black health professionals in Kern County by creating educational pathways through local colleges.