The program will hire and train community health workers to conduct outreach to expectant mothers and connect them with resources to ensure a healthy start for their children. Memorial Health Fund is helping Family First launch this national, evidence-based program in York to reduce the incidence of low birth weight babies and initiate a new way to deliver services to at-risk populations that can lower the cost of healthcare.
“Memorial Health Fund is proud to provide this grant to Family First Health as one way to show our commitment to life-changing health philanthropy to perpetuate a legacy of care for York,” said Jack Kay, chair of the Memorial Health Fund Board of Directors. “Family First Health brought us a sustainable, well-researched program that will make a systemic change to an important issue facing members of our community. These are the types of programs we want to fund.”
“Through this grant, we will be able to offer jobs to four members of the York City community and provide them with the necessary training to guide expectant mothers in need of resources for a healthy pregnancy,” said Jennifer Englerth, chief executive officer of Family First Health. “By working through respected members of the community we are serving, we will have a deeper understanding of the barriers to care they face. This will be the first intervention of its type in the region.”
Pathways to a Healthy Pregnancy was selected because it has proven effective in Ohio and other states across the country in addressing an issue identified through the Adams and York County Community Health Needs Assessment of 2015 as a critical need. The City of York has a low birth weight rate of 11.5 percent, compared to the York County rate of 8 percent. In the City of York, approximately 200 babies are born preterm or with a low birth weight each year.
Children born with low birth weights face challenges throughout their development which ultimately affects the community both socially and economically. The societal cost of low birthweight babies is estimated at over $26 billion annually nationwide, according to the March of Dimes. The investment in this program is a fraction of the cost of one stay in a neonatal unit for one premature baby. Through this grant, Memorial Health Fund and Family First Health seek to reduce that cost in York.