Dayton health center to expand pregnancy, parenting resources

More services are coming to Dayton to support pregnant women and new mothers.

Five Rivers Health Centers received a $1.07 million Healthy Start grant that will allow the nonprofit medical center to hire more workers, provide more home visits for new mothers and expand its evidence-based peer groups for pregnancy and parenting support.

Five Rivers, headquartered next to the former Good Samaritan Hospital, provides services on an income-based fee scale and gears services toward low-income residents and the uninsured. The network has locations in Montgomery and Greene counties.

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The grants are for organizations serving communities with high infant mortality rates and high rates of other negative maternal and infant outcomes. The grants are for programs that improve health outcomes before, during and after pregnancy, and to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in rates of infant death as well as negative health outcomes in the first 18 months of life.

In Montgomery County, there are just under 8 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2017, and the black infant mortality rate in the county was four times higher than the white infant mortality rate.

“The goal of Healthy Start is to ensure that women experiencing high rates of poverty, limited access to care, and other socioeconomic factors can have healthy pregnancies and raise healthy children,” Gina McFarlane-El, CEO of Five Rivers Health Centers, said in a statement. “Healthy Start aims to address the factors that can interfere with this goal and to provide every woman, child, and family with the best chances to thrive. With this new grant, Five Rivers Health Centers will now be able to provide services to hundreds of patients and their families.”

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The federal grant money will let the health center network hire more community health workers to work with more patients in their homes after giving birth, to make sure they are staying healthy and getting the right medical care.

This will also let the health center expand Centering Pregnancy and Centering Parenting groups. These groups bring together a cohort of women with similar due dates or similar aged infants. This group model has been shown to lead to better health outcomes and also provides a community of support for mothers and partners.

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