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Partnerships & Collaborations

Healthy Start Programs1

Healthy Start is a component of MCHB and resides in the Division of Perinatal Systems and Women’s Health. Originally funded under the authority of Section 301 of the Public Health Service Act, Healthy Start was recently authorized by Congress as part of the Children’s Health Act of 2000. Healthy Start was created to address high infant mortality rates. Healthy Start projects address multiple issues, including:

  • Providing adequate prenatal care
  • Promoting positive prenatal health behaviors
  • Meeting basic health needs (nutrition, housing, psychosocial support)
  • Reducing barriers to access
  • Enabling client empowerment

Healthy Start programs are community-driven and located in the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. Since its initiation in 1991, Healthy Start has served hundreds of thousands of families. More than 90 percent of all Healthy Start families are African American, Hispanic or Native American. Healthy Start specializes in outreach and home visiting—the best way to reach the most at-risk women. Healthy Start has pioneered the use of women living in the community as outreach workers and home visitors.

Every Healthy Start project has developed a consortium, composed of neighborhood residents, clients, medical providers, social service agencies, faith representatives and the business community. This ensures that not just Healthy Start, but the whole community, is committed to reducing infant mortality and LBW.

Communication Vehicles: Newsletters and copies of proceedings from the past annual conferences

Membership: Membership in the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA) is open to all Federally-funded Healthy Start projects. Other community-based agencies and individuals are welcome to become a friend of Healthy Start by joining the association as well. The NHSA, whose members include most of the 96 Federally-funded Healthy Start projects in the United States, promotes community-based maternal and child health programs, particularly those that focus on the reduction of infant mortality, LBW and racial disparities in perinatal outcomes. The Web site provides contact information on individual Healthy Start programs.

Publications: Individual Healthy Start’s publications

Services: Range of member-related services

National Healthy Start Association
P.O. Box 25227
Baltimore, MD 21229
410-525-1600
410-525-1601 (fax)
http://www.healthystartassoc.org
natlhealthystart@mindspring.com

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