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Delta Health Alliance receives HRSA funding for Maternal & Child Health program

Posted on: April 15, 2019

The Health Resources and Services Administration of the US Department of Health and Human Services has awarded a five-year funding grant to Delta Health Alliance to increase maternal and infant outcomes for expectant moms and families in four rural counties through its Delta Healthy Start Collaborative. 

The Delta Healthy Start Collaborative, which is part of Delta Health Alliance’s  broader home visiting initiatives, will combat infant mortality and low birth weight babies in regions of the Delta where resources are not readily available, particularly women’s health resources.  The four-county service area (Leflore, Humphreys, Holmes and Yazoo) historically sees higher incidences of infant mortality, preterm and low weight births, and teen births, particularly in low-income families. 

“Preterm births have an economic impact in the Delta of $51,600 per birth with 71% of that being medical costs, but those avoidable medical costs are greatly reduced through home visiting programs.”  states Karen Matthews, CEO for Delta Health Alliance.  Matthews continues, “This HRSA funding will lower those costs and ensure that Delta children are healthy and hitting developmental milestones.”  

According to Carolyn Willis, DHA’s Vice President of Education Programs, “This new funding means we can continue to build on the work of the past five years, while expanding the scope and scale of services in the five years to come.” Willis, who oversees DHA’s Home Visiting Initiative, knows the success that DHA’s current maternal and infant health programs have seen in the Delta such as DHA’s pilot study program, located in Sunflower and Leflore counties. “Almost 90% of children in families participating in are meeting age-appropriate development benchmarks, a figure higher than the national average. And, 32% of participant are less likely to have low birth-weight babies and premature births.” 

DHA’s Delta Healthy Start Collaborative utilizes Parent Educators trained in the evidence-based Parents as Teachers model to work with pregnant moms and infants/children up to 18 months,  utilizes the Center for Disease Control’s Preconception Health to support women’s health, and fosters fatherhood participation through Partners for Healthy Babies/ 24/7 Dads program. Partners of this collaborative include the Mississippi State Department of Health’s Division of Child, Adolescent and Family Health, Greenwood OB/GYN Associates, the Leland Medical Clinic, Desoto Family Counseling Center, the Universal Parenting Place, the Delta Fresh Foods Initiative, and Greenwood Leflore Hospital.

To learn more about Delta Health Alliance’s Home Visitation Initiative program and Delta Healthy Start, go to www.deltahealthalliance.orgor follow DHA on social media.