The MolinaCares Accord Donates $50,000 to SHIELDS for Families in Support of Initiative to Combat Perinatal Depression


LONG BEACH, Calif., Jan. 17, 2023 – The MolinaCares Accord (“MolinaCares”), in collaboration with Molina Healthcare of California (“Molina”), has granted $50,000 to SHIELDS for Families (“SHIELDS”), a community-based non-profit serving south Los Angeles, in support of an initiative to develop a new curriculum that helps address perinatal depression among mothers of color.

The grant supports the Health Equity Challenge (HEC), a program developed by MolinaCares in partnership with the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research as a part of the MolinaCares California Equity and Accessibility Initiative. The initiative launched in 2021 to advance health equity across the state of California. The HEC gave UCLA students an opportunity to partner with local community-based organizations to create innovative solutions to local issues. Two finalists were selected, including Alma Lopez, a UCLA graduate student. SHIELDS will work with Lopez over an eight-week period to help implement her proposal.

"At Molina, maternal mental health care is a top priority, especially for mothers of color, whom we know are disproportionately impacted by high rates of perinatal depression and lack access to culturally appropriate treatment options," said Abbie Totten, plan president of Molina Healthcare of California. “We are excited to partner with SHIELDS for Families to support innovative solutions that can lead to improved mental health outcomes."

As part of Lopez’s proposal, SHIELDS will engage up to 40 parent participants, through peer support groups offered in English and Spanish. Data collected will inform and guide future efforts to address maternal mental health across urban communities. Materials such as emotional wellness self-help tools will be developed for the program, which can then be replicated in future initiatives and at other sites. The goal of the program is to identify tools, practices and resources to measurably reduce perinatal depressive symptoms among participants.

“It is our hope that this program will help to increase awareness around maternal mental health and perinatal depression, while enhancing the bond between mother and child among those participating,” said Sonja Juniel, program administrator at SHIELDS for Families.

About The MolinaCares Accord
Established by Molina Healthcare, Inc., The MolinaCares Accord oversees a community investment platform created to improve the health and well-being of disadvantaged populations by funding meaningful, measurable, and innovative programs and solutions that improve health, life, and living in local communities. The MolinaCares Accord funds such measures through The Molina Healthcare Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) established in 2020 by Molina Healthcare, Inc.

About Molina Healthcare of California
Molina Healthcare of California has been providing government-funded care for 40 years. The Company serves members through Medi-Cal, Medicare, Medicare-Medicaid (Duals) and Covered California (Marketplace). Molina’s service areas include Sacramento, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Riverside, San Diego, Orange County and Imperial counties. Through its locally operated health plans, Molina Healthcare, Inc., a FORTUNE 500 company, served approximately 5.2 million members as of September 30, 2022.

About SHIELDS for Families
SHIELDS for Families is a community-based 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization located in south Los Angeles serving individuals, children, and families through comprehensive and collaborative social services for child and youth development, child welfare, mental health, substance use disorder treatment, and supportive services such as food, transportation, housing, legal services, and educational and vocational training.