Letter to the Editor: Maternal Health Awareness Day 2024

Jean Holmgren
Letter to the Editor: Maternal Health Awareness Day 2024 Featured Image

In recognition of Maternal Health Awareness Day, January 23, Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS) is focusing attention on the programs and interventions that are proven to have a positive impact on maternal health outcomes, and highlighting the work of all those who help support healthy pregnancies, healthy families, and healthy communities. 

Since 1971, MFHS has been supporting the health and nutrition needs of pregnant and postpartum individuals by delivering programs and services that meet critical needs and result in positive outcomes for mothers and children. These programs include:

  • The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program, which provides nutrition education, access to healthy foods, breastfeeding support, and referrals to health and social services.
  • The Nurse-Family Partnership Program, a nationally acclaimed, evidence-based nurse home visiting program for at-risk mothers and their babies which starts during pregnancy and continues through the child’s second birthday, transforming the lives of families, creating brighter futures for mothers and children, and leading to economic self-sufficiency.
  • The Healthy Beginnings Plus Maternity Program, which delivers a comprehensive package of prenatal and postpartum healthcare to support healthy pregnancies and address the social determinants of health.
  • The Family Planning Program, which offers reproductive health care to promote preconception health and resources for individuals to plan and space pregnancies for optimal maternal health outcomes.

Together these programs form a maternal health safety net that protects the health of pregnant individuals by connecting them to essential care and support services. This past year, MFHS expanded on the proven success of long-standing public health programs by launching the MFHS Circle of Care in Scranton, a maternity medical home model of care that provides maternity care and a variety of health and social service programs under one roof. This holistic service delivery model of care promotes healthy pregnancies, positive birth outcomes, and maternal and infant health through onsite service coordination that includes obstetric and postpartum care, reproductive health care, WIC Nutrition services, the Nurse-Family Partnership, behavioral health and social work services, dental care, ultrasounds, fetal monitoring, substance/opioid use disorder care management and family medicine.    

As we look forward to 2024 and continue to build on the proven success of programs that make a positive impact on maternal health, MFHS celebrates the MFHS workforce, the individuals who work every day throughout our 17-county service area to uplift and support pregnant individuals and provide high quality care that leads to healthier pregnancies, healthier families, and stronger communities. The community can learn more about these programs, including eligibility information, right here on our website. We urge our government leaders and community to support the work of MFHS and all the partner organizations that work to improve access to maternal and reproductive health care.    

Maria Montoro Edwards, Ph.D.
MFHS President & CEO