Memorial receives $200k Highmark BCBSWNY Blue Fund grant

September 29, 2022

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center has been awarded a $200,000 Blue Fund grant from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York to support the first community-based doula program in Niagara Falls.

Every Woman and Child Counts is a program aimed at increasing healthy births and patient satisfaction by providing free doula services, in combination with social determinant of health strategies, to combat disparities and improve maternal and newborn health outcomes.

Four community members of diverse racial backgrounds will be recruited, trained, and certified through DONA International, the leader in evidence-based doula training. Once certified, they will provide physical, informational, and emotional support to 152 expectant parents in Niagara County who have social determinants of health (SDOH) concerns. SDOH are the environmental conditions that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes.

The doulas will also provide birthing support, prenatal and postpartum visits, education and service referrals. In addition, a part-time Transport Community Health Worker will be hired to assist in getting clients with transportation barriers to appointments.

“By offering valuable doula services at no additional cost to the patient, Every Woman and Child Counts will enrich the birth experiences of many women who have not previously had this level of support.

“Four community members will receive free training and certification to become a doula. This could develop into lifelong career paths in which the doulas can truly make a difference in the lives of birthing people,” said Eileen Kineke, Maternal & Infant Health Initiative Coordinator with Memorial’s P3 Center for Teens, Moms & Kids.

In addition, Memorial’s P3 Center will host Doula Dialogues, a series of three Q&A events open to the community. Anyone interested in becoming a doula is encouraged to attend, and applications will be accepted on the spot.

Every Woman and Child Counts, which is set to begin October 2022, aligns with Blue Fund’s goals of promoting maternal health and healthy children and improving racial equality in under-resourced communities with poor social determinants of health. 

For more information on Doula Dialogues or Memorials upcoming community-based doula program, please contact Eileen Kineke at 716-278-4274.

About Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York Blue Fund

Blue Fund, funded solely by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, awards major grants in Western New York, to organizations and initiatives that have a positive impact on key health areas and will demonstrate enhanced measurable outcomes for community health metrics. These include behavioral health, cardiovascular health, health-care workforce development, healthy children and maternal health. Blue Fund complements Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield’s current corporate giving program of partnerships and sponsorships.

About NF Memorial Medical Center & P3 Center for Teens, Moms & Kids

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center is a full-service, 171-bed regional medical center with extensive inpatient and outpatient services including The Heart Center of Niagara, Niagara Wellness Connection Center, Golisano Medical Oncology Center, Wound Center of Niagara, the OB/GYN Center and UBMD Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine. The first hospital in Niagara to be designated a stroke center by the NYS Department of Health, Memorial also provides a wide range of outpatient services. To learn more, visit www.nfmmc.org. The P3 Center for Teens, Moms and Kids offers free services to women to improve their health and the health of their newborns and children. Services include health needs assessments, physician referrals, care management, and more.

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