Four Projects Approved to Receive Maternal Health Innovations Grants

Allegheny Health Network's Immigrant & Refugee Doula Program, Hello Neighbor, The Mid-Atlantic Mothers' Milk Bank, and The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health will be the first recipients of maternal care innovation grant funding, intended to identify unique opportunities to improve maternal health outcomes in Pennsylvania.

The Jewish Healthcare Foundation (JHF) is operating as the fiscal agent for federal Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Funds provided through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to address maternal health needs. A total of $4.5 million is available for short-term, maternal care innovation projects that will positively impact maternal health in Pennsylvania. An external statewide review panel comprised of subject matter experts from across Pennsylvania met for the first time on August 9, to finalize funding recommendations for the first round of proposals, received May through June of 2023.

Twelve proposals were received in total with AHN's Immigrant & Refugee Doula Program, Hello Neighbor, The Mid-Atlantic Mothers' Milk Bank, and The Midwife Center for Birth & Women's Health being recommended by the committee for immediate funding, totaling $697,489.

The awarded proposals include:

  • AHN's Immigrant & Refugee Doula Program's expansion of current operations by increasing impact related to maternal nutrition and food insecurity support through an innovative collaboration with the AHN Healthy Food Centers. Doulas and community health workers (CHWs) will be trained to provide culturally appropriate, basic maternal nutrition education to pregnant and postpartum clients during home visits and appointments on an ongoing basis. Through this project, Doulas and CHWs will learn to recognize and address food insecurity and nutrition-related concerns during their encounters through screening assessments and informal conversation and act accordingly by providing tailored food boxes to their clients. Additionally, the project seeks to further impact community awareness of food insecurity and maternal mortality as it relates to immigrants and refugees through the annual Immigrant and Refugee Health conference.
  • Hello Neighbor will expand their current services providing culturally tailored and individualized support for refugee and immigrant moms and babies. This will be achieved through the hiring of a newly created position, a Smart Start Program Coordinator, allowing for remote navigation throughout surrounding counties for virtual support, increasing outbound recruitment, and overseeing case acuity to maintain appropriate levels of case management for case managers.
  • The Mid-Atlantic Mothers' Milk Bank will reduce barriers to donor milk access for medically fragile infants by establishing a web-based education center, video content, clinician webinars, infographics, display materials, awareness campaigns, and clinician conferences.
  • The Midwife Center will expand its services, serve new clients, and build on its innovative healthcare model by mentoring more health professionals to reflect a more diverse clientele.

In addition to these awards, JHF expects to issue awards for the remainder of proposals received in the first round and recommended for funding in September, pending receipt of information and/or changes requested by the review committee.

A second round of proposals, those received July through August, will be provided to the review committee in September for consideration early this fall. As of August 28, 13 new proposals have been received, totaling over $1.7 million in requests. 

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