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Maternal and Infant Community Health Collaborative Grant (MICHC)

The Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network (LHVPN) has received a five-year grant to work with communities to increase the number of healthy babies born in their neighborhoods. The Maternal and Infant Community Health Collaborative (MICHC) is an initiative for changing systems to improve birth outcomes and lead to healthier communities. It will focus on:

  • Improving outcomes related to preterm (premature) births, low birth weight, infant mortality (death) and maternal mortality (death)
  • Reducing health disparities in these birth outcomes

Improving the health of men and women in the communities, whether or not they are pregnant, will lead to healthier babies. How? Since half of all births in the United States are unplanned, having all people become healthier will mean that when they become pregnant their bodies will be better equipped to carry a full-term baby who will be born at a healthy weight.

LHVPN will work with residents, human service and medical organizations including Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Peekskill, New Rochelle and White Plains in Westchester County and Spring Valley and Haverstraw in Rockland County to figure out the best ways to make these communities healthier places to live. Some potential projects include Community Café conversations, Healthy Lifestyle Zones (HLZ) with activity Hubs, peer education, and community health education cooperatives, all of which strive to engage residents as partners in the process, demystify policy change, and build partnership with formal systems.

The program will also be used to expand the reach of the Community Health Workers/Promotores into un-served areas and provide home visiting services (as needed). Currently MICHC staff is working in the targeted neighborhoods providing health education and information and resources on health insurance.

MICHC Funded partners include: Mt. Vernon Neighborhood Health Center, HACSO Community Center, Hudson River Health Care, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic and Adults Caring for Teens.

To get involved with the project, to schedule a health education session for your organization, or for more information contact Ericka Dorsey at DorseyE@lhvpn.net.

June 2012

Healthy Newborns Are the Mission of the Children's Health and Research Foundation

There is nothing more important than the health and well being of newborns and the mothers who give birth to them. With this in mind the Children's Health & Research Foundation, Inc. has dedicated itself to ensuring that infants and children in the Hudson Valley thrive and live long, healthy lives.

The Foundation was established in the summer of 2010 as a public benefit tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation. It is based in White Plains and focuses primarily on education and outreach, while serving as a resource for funding physician research into the causes and prevention of child illnesses. Clinical trials are also conducted in the areas of mother and child health, wellness, and disease prevention. According to Martin Gorman, the Foundation's Executive Director, there was an urgent need in the region for an organization geared toward raising funds and awareness of prenatal and perinatal health, while educating the community about the importance of preventing illness among this most vulnerable group of patients.

"There are other foundations in the region that have their own charters and that focus on specific areas, but we found there was a need to target education, outreach and ·research specifically, as we are," Mr. Gorman states. An attorney with many years of experience in the Hudson Valley business community, Mr. Gorman was asked by Leonard Newman, MD and Michael H. Gewitz, MD of Children's ang Women's Physicians of Westchester, LLP, to devote his considerable expertise to the organization. "Drs. Newman, Gewitz and others recognized the need for this Foundation, and they generously donated the seed money. It was several months of work to create it." Allen Dozor, MD, Director of the Children's Environmental Health Center of the Hudson Valley, was also involved in the creation of the Foundation.

The end result, Mr. Gorman says, is a vibrant organization that actively disseminates information about prenatal health while aggressively pursuing grant money to fund much-needed research.

Prior to the formation of the Foundation, three distinct prenatal and perinatal outreach programs were being operated under the auspices of Edmund LaGamma, MD, Director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program. These programs, funded by New York State and the seven counties that comprise the lower Hudson Valley, were in existence for about six years before being folded into the Foundation. Today the Foundation's programs include the Comprehensive Prenatal Perinatal Services Network that assesses and fills needs in perinatal services; Healthy from Birth for Life, which involves a social health marketing campaign aimed at improving birth outcomes in high-risk communities; and Go Before You Show, an outreach and social health marketing campaign stressing importance of prenatal care in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. These program areas are all delivered through the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, a group dedicated to eliminating disparities in perinatal health care while promoting mother and child health throughout the region.

The Foundation also supports the Children's Environmental Health Center of the Hudson Valley, under the direction of Allen Dozor, MD. The Center strives to protect children from exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants by raising awareness and making recommendations to communities and governmental agencies. The Center works with medical and environmental health experts at the Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College's School of School of Health Sciences and Practice, and other regional institutions.

The Foundation aggressively is pursuing grants that the Board of Directors feels are essential in furthering the goal of infant and child health. The areas of neonatology, genetics and pulmonology are currently the Foundation's highest priorities in seeking grant monies for sponsored clinical research. "A clinical advisory committee comprised of preeminent physicians reviews grants and advises the board on which the Foundation should pursue to fulfill its charitable mission to support children's health," Mr. Gorman explains.
The Foundation has had success in soliciting private and corporate donations for clinical research. Grants have been bestowed to several doctors at Westchester Medical Center, "but we're not limited to that; we will consider supporting any person in the region who has a promising idea for research in an area of children's health," Mr. Gorman says.

Seeing fewer babies born with preventable health conditions is a core purpose of the organization. "This was the genesis of the Foundation," Mr. Gorman states. "I've been very pleased with what we've accomplished in just two years." The Foundation has recruited a dynamic group of independent community leaders to serve in its Board of Directors. As a result, the Board has doubled in size since the inception of the Foundation. "This has been a high priority of the Foundation - creating a vibrant board of directors that is passionate about and committed to the work of the organization and to help identify sources of support." Fund-raising efforts this year include an annual golf outing at Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, and an Oktoberfest celebration at the Double Tree by Hilton in Tarrytown.

Mr. Gorman is enthusiastic about the work accomplished by the Foundation so far, and is optimistic about future endeavors. "We're still in our infancy!"

November 2011

The Healthy From Birth for Life Program is officially on the map!

Below is an email from Cynthia Smith, Director of the Women & Infant Vitality Network Office on Maternal & Infant Health and Infant Mortality Reduction in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Healthy From Birth for Life Program,

My office was created to reduce infant mortality in Cincinnati / Hamilton County Ohio. It is a collaborative, community wide effort that includes multiple organizations. One of our areas of focus is preconception health and community engagement.

Your Healthy From Birth for Life Program seems to be an excellent way to get youth involved in improving birth outcomes. I would like to use the model, with some modifications for Cincinnati, in a community where we have a high number of preterm and low birth weight births, as well as a high number of infant deaths. I would like to talk with you about your challenges and successes if possible.

Please contact me at your convenience.

Thank you for your consideration,

Cynthia Smith - Director
Women & Infant Vitality Network Office on Maternal & Infant Health and
Infant Mortality Reduction (OMIHIMR)

250 William H. Taft Road
Cincinnati, Ohio 45219

Phone: (513) 946-7901

Promoting Vitality for Women & Infants

November 2011

The Children's Health & Research Foundation, Inc. aids in the success of the 10th Annual Hudson Valley Regional Perinatal Forum.

The forum, entitled "Toward Improving Perinatal Health in the Hudson Valley Region: 10 Years in the Making" was held on November 2, 2011 at the Marriott Westchester in Tarrytown, NY.

Below is a portion of a thank you letter sent to the foundation after the forum.

The mission of the Regional Perinatal Forum is to encourage a collaborative effort to work together in planning perinatal forum and surrounding public health activities toward improving perinatal health in the Hudson Valley Region. Such a challenging and complex problem requires the good intentions, generosity and partnerships of many to make the dream a reality. Read More

PRESS RELEASE | Printer Friendly Version

Cheryl Archbald, MD, MPH, Acting Commissioner, Department of Health
Ned McCormack, Communications Director
Contact: Caren Halbfinger: (914)813-5013 / after hours: (914)813-5000

For Immediate Release: May 5, 2011


Team approach encourages Westchester women to seek early prenatal care for a healthier baby.

The Westchester County Department of Health and the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network introduced a new countywide campaign today to encourage pregnant women to seek prenatal care in the first three months of their pregnancy and to link them to a prenatal care provider as early as possible in their pregnancy. The kickoff was held at the Theodore D. Young Community Center in White Plains, NY.

The goal is to improve the health of babies born in Westchester. More than a quarter of all babies born in the county in 2008 were born to women who had late or no prenatal care and more than 1,000 babies born that year, (8.9% of all live births) weighed less than 5½ pounds, according to the most recent figures available from the county health department. Low birth weight babies often face greater challenges, such as developmental delays, health concerns and a higher risk of infant mortality.

“Just days before Mother's Day, I'm proud to support this effort to encourage early prenatal care for all Westchester moms-to-be,'' said County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “As a father of three young children, I can tell you there is no greater gift than a healthy child.”

“Early prenatal care is vital to the health of both the pregnant mother and her baby,” said Dr. Cheryl Archbald, acting commissioner of the Westchester County Department of Health. “Through our new Go Before You Show initiative, by making one phone call to 211, a pregnant woman can have her first prenatal appointment scheduled and be on her way to a healthy pregnancy.''

This new collaborative effort was developed in partnership with the Children's Health and Research Foundation, Inc.'s Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network and the United Way 211 Hudson Valley and is funded by the New York State Department of Health.

“The Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network recognizes that many women in underserved communities are not getting the information they need to have a healthy full term pregnancy and a healthy baby,'' said Cheryl Hunter-Grant, Executive Director of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network and Vice President, Perinatal Programs of the Children's Health and Research Foundation, Inc. “Help us spread the message to all mothers-to-be and their families about the need to get prenatal care within the first three months of pregnancy.''

Go Before You Show will be promoted through an integrated marketing campaign with text messages, radio, bus and movie theater advertising, YouTube videos, a website and ambassadors, who will reach out to residents, to share information about Go Before You Show and the importance of early prenatal care.

“It is our duty to reach out to the underprivileged and most vulnerable members of our community, so we are happy to support this campaign,'' said Rev. Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Mount Vernon, NY and member of the United Black Clergy of Westchester.  “Members of United Black Clergy of Westchester will declare one Sunday this year Go Before You Show Sunday, in which we will ask our member churches to distribute printed materials and have a member of their health ministry speak out about how important it is for young mothers to get prenatal care in their first trimester.''

Naomi Adler, CEO and president of United Way Westchester and Putnam, said her organization, which coordinates the 211 service, was pleased to help connect women to prenatal care and follow up to make sure they kept their first appointment. “2-1-1 is one of the most effective ways to get information to people who need it and we are excited to put it to use for such an important program for parents,” she said.

For more information, visit www.GoBeforeYouShow914.com and www.westchestergov.com/health.

Reporters can contact Teresa Holmes of TLH Communications at 282-5317 or tlhcomm@gmail.com.

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Phone: 914-673-3042

The Children's Health and Research Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization recognized as tax exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).

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