Project Baby Springfield (PBS), a working group of the Springfield Department of Health and Human Services and their Maternal-Child Health Commission, is focused on addressing the disparities in health for infants, mothers, and families. PBS has received funding specifically for safe sleep education and outreach for fiscal year 2013 from the March of Dimes and the Children's Miracle Network through Baystate Children's Hospital. As a result of these grants, PBS has been able to hire a coordinator for 2013 as well as contract with Verdant Communications to develop culturally and linguistically appropriate messaging on safe infant sleep. PBS has also had the opportunity to expand its active membership and alliances through network building following the June 2012 Maternal-Infant Strategic Plan Summit. We have members from the following organizations, institutions, and agencies: Mason Square Community Health Center, Family Life Center for Maternity at Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Care Prenatal Center in Holyoke and Forest Park, MA Department of Public Health, MA Department of Early Education and Care, MA SIDS Center, March of Dimes, Safe Kids of Western Mass, Tapestry Health, WIC, Springfield College (Social Work), UMass Amherst (Anthropology), Westfield State University (Ethic & Gender Studies), and Springfield's early intervention agencies.
Beyond the issue of safe sleep, PBS is focused on pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and birth outcomes as a whole as they relate to race, racism, and equity, and hosted a community conversation during Public Health Month (April 2013) in which the docmumentary When the Bough Breaks was shown followed by a discussion. We seek to continue this outreach and engagement within the Springfield community.
Our goals for the next year include:
- Develop and maintain a pre-pregnancy and pregnancy resource "list" or "hub"
- Finalize current healthy pregnancy community needs assessment and plan for ongoing updating, including data streams
- Reach out to and engage the community in the issues of infant mortality, prematurity, and safe sleep
- Engage the community and health services providers in dialogue to increase mutual engagement in and effectiveness of services to our community
- Advocate for measures to reduce complexity of care system for pregnant women and their families
- Produce an annual PBS report
- Report directly to the HHS Department Director twice a year
- Find and develop funding for our efforts - grants and strategic alliances
- Plan a significant event during September, National Infant Mortality Awareness month
- Engage men - fathers, uncles, grandfathers.