A grant from the Yale School of Medicine may soon help improve the health of families in New Haven.
On Wednesday night, the Board of Alders approved a grant from YSM to fund enhanced care for pregnant and parenting women. The $300,000 grant will primarily pay the salaries of staffers of the city’s MOMS Partnership — a consortium of several organizations, including the city Health Department, dedicated to protecting the health of New Haven families. The funding will be allocated over the course of three years from July 2014 to June 2017.
“Having healthy families transcends every public health issue,” said Maria Damiani, director of women’s health and child health at the city Health Department. “The MOMS Partnership is an intensive case management initiative for pregnant women and their families.”
While the grant will help pay staffers across several organizations in the MOMS Partnership, Damiani said that the grant funds will largely be used to pay the salaries of the Health Department’s staff members.
According to Damiani, the MOMS Partnership aims to provide assistance to women applying for insurance to counsel them in case management, which is the process of evaluating several health care options to determine which best fits a patient’s needs. Damiani said this type of counseling is essential to ensure families have access to quality health care and support services during the prenatal stage and the early stages of parenting.
The board’s Human Services Committee heard the grant proposal from Damiani, who spoke on behalf of proposal writer and Community Service Administrator Dr. Martha Okafor. Human Services Committee Chair and Ward 14 Alder Santiago Berrios-Bones said he was confident the proposal would be approved.
“It’s a grant. It doesn’t cost the city anything,” Berrios-Bones said. “It was a sure bet to be approved.”
Berrios-Bones nonetheless raised concerns about the $10,000 dollar implementation cost outlined in the proposal, which would accompany the grant.
Damiani dispelled doubts by clarifying that the cost was already accounted for in the city’s general operating fund and, as a result, would pose no additional stress to the city budget.
Mayor Toni Harp, who had expressed her support for the grant in previous meetings with Okafor, was eager to see its approval.
She said the grant would allow MOMS to continue to operate and provide assistance to mothers and babies at a critical time in development. Harp added that the initiative would lower infant mortality rates in New Haven, which she said were indicators of broader health issues in the city.
“We hope this collaboration between the city and the Yale School of Medicine will lead to a greater awareness of the need to maintain good health,” Harp said.
The MOMS partnership is based in the Temple Medical Center at 40 Temple St. in New Haven.