The Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network (LHVPN) has received a five-year grant to work with communities to increase the number of healthy babies born in their neighborhoods. The Maternal and Infant Community Health Collaborative (MICHC) is an initiative for changing systems to improve birth outcomes and lead to healthier communities. It will focus on:
Improving the health of men and women in the communities, whether or not they are pregnant, will lead to healthier babies. How? Since half of all births in the United States are unplanned, having all people become healthier will mean that when they become pregnant their bodies will be better equipped to carry a full-term baby who will be born at a healthy weight.
LHVPN will work with residents, human service and medical organizations including Yonkers, Mt. Vernon, Peekskill, New Rochelle and White Plains in Westchester County and Spring Valley and Haverstraw in Rockland County to figure out the best ways to make these communities healthier places to live. Some potential projects include Community Café conversations, Healthy Lifestyle Zones (HLZ) with activity Hubs, peer education, and community health education cooperatives, all of which strive to engage residents as partners in the process, demystify policy change, and build partnership with formal systems.
The program will also be used to expand the reach of the Community Health Workers/Promotores into un-served areas and provide home visiting services (as needed). Currently MICHC staff is working in the targeted neighborhoods providing health education and information and resources on health insurance.