Philadelphia Receives $13.5 Million In Grant Funding To Improve Birth Outcomes

The City of Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health (PDPH) and Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) were awarded together more than $13.5 million in Healthy Start grant funding by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The funding, which will be distributed over a five year period, will assist efforts to improve the health of mothers and newborns and to reduce health disparities among women across Philadelphia.  U.S. Secretary for Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell announced the grant earlier this month.

“Our Administration works hard to support women and families in any way we can, whether it be focusing on birth outcomes or enacting legislation protecting a woman’s right to express breast milk in the workplace,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter.  “I want to thank the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for selecting our Department of Public Health and Maternity Care Coalition, a great partner to the City, for this Healthy Start grant.”

Under this grant funding, PDPH and MCC will provide guidance, home visiting and health education to pregnant women to ensure they receive the care they need to have healthy and safe births.   PDPH will serve approximately 1,000 women annually and MCC will serve 500 women in West, Southwest, North, Northeast and Northwest Philadelphia.

“Our goal is to improve the health of women and infants and address the pernicious racial disparities in these neighborhoods,” said Health Commissioner Dr. James Buehler.

Additionally, as part of the Healthy Start grant, these women will have access to family planning resources, prenatal care and pediatric care.

“We are thrilled that we’ve been selected as a grantee for this highly competitive grant enabling us to bring MOMobile services to more families.  For nearly 35 years, MCC has worked to improve the health and wellbeing of pregnant women and their babies in neighborhoods with high rates of infant mortality,” said JoAnne Fischer, Executive Director, Maternity Care Coalition.

PDPH was awarded one of only 15 Level III Healthy Start grants intended to provide leadership and mentorship to other Healthy Start sites across Pennsylvania.  In total, 33 states received Healthy Start funding.  The Healthy Start program began in 1991 and is managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration.

For more information about Healthy Start, visit www.nationalhealthystart.org.

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About PDPH Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health Division

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health has become recognized nationally among urban health departments for its programs that are aimed at improving the health of women, children and families including initiatives to reduce obesity, tobacco use, and second-hand smoke exposure; and improve reproductive health. The Division of Maternal, Child and Family Health (MCFH) provides service and promotes education that address access to reproductive health services and knowledge of effective parenting practices. These programs aim to improve the health of women, nurture child and adolescent development and enhance resiliency. Integral to all MCFH’s activities is a focus on reducing racial and economic health disparities. Combined, these efforts aim to result in healthier families whose children will become adults capable of strengthening communities throughout Philadelphia.

About Maternity Care Coalition

Founded in 1980, Maternity Care Coalition (MCC) focuses on improving the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, parents, and young children. Its comprehensive approach includes public policy, research, and services for families. Since its founding MCC has touched more than 95,000 families throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, focusing particularly on neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, infant mortality, health disparities, and changing immigration patterns.

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