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CAI’s Maternal and Infant Health Project Increased Effectiveness and Utilization of Care in New York City

New York, NY (July 12, 2023)—Leaders from the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and CAI recently celebrated the achievements of CAI’s Improving Health Equity and Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes project. The initiative helped community-based organizations improve the health of mothers and infants in New York City neighborhoods with the greatest health disparities from 2016 to 2023.

At 22 sites across the city, staff of community-based organizations received training and technical assistance and participated in peer learning collaboratives, sharing knowledge with colleagues at other sites. Professionals gained skills and knowledge in five key areas: breastfeeding, safe sleep, women’s health, family planning, and toxic stress and trauma. They also received support to collect and report real-time data and had regular opportunities to reflect on their data to ensure that their intended populations were reached.

As a result, more than 45,000 clients benefited from culturally relevant educational classes, support groups, case management, health screenings and referrals. They also received assistance with critical items, such as infant cribs and gift cards to help them meet basic needs.

Evaluations of the Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes project were overwhelmingly positive, with nearly 90 percent of staff reporting that they received critical information from the trainings, and the majority of clients indicating that what they learned impacted their behavior and attitudes around topics that improve health outcomes of infants and mothers, such as breastfeeding.

“We captured many indicators of success over the course of the seven-year initiative. I believe that one of the clearest accomplishments is that we saw the people whom we were trying to reach—people who need these critical services but often do not access them were walking through the door, having a positive experience, and returning,” said Clare Friedrich, project director.

The lessons CAI learned through the maternal health project and its evaluation are already being incorporated in other CAI initiatives, including the creation of a new parenting support group that is helping Black and Latina mothers in New York City cope with stress and build social connections.

Learn more about CAI’s work to promote health for mothers, infants, and families.