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  • Health Department wins $120,000 grant

    Apr 19, 2016 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Health Department has won a $120,000 innovation grant from the Vitalyst Foundation for an 18-month pilot project to assist young mothers and their children living in poverty. The project begins July 1.

    Bonnie BazataThe Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead (MAMA) project is a partnership between the Pima County Health Department, which has identified poverty as a critical issue in its Community Health Assessment, and the Community Services, Employment and Training (CSET) Department that recently launched an “Ending Poverty Now” initiative as a part of a three-year economic development plan

    Both departments have been recognized for innovative approaches to assisting underserved populations. The MAMA project is guided by a 15-member coordinating team representing criminal justice, health, community development and neighborhoods, job development and libraries.

    “Many women are the primary providers and advocates for their families,” Dr. Francisco Garcia, director of the Pima County Health Department, said. “Yet in low-income families a scarcity of resources translates into a chronic state of crisis.

    Interventions such as these are our only hope to get at the root causes of trans-generational poverty.”

    MAMA incorporates several unique features of curriculum, training, evaluation, and volunteer support networks to create a new approach to investigating the problem of poor health and creating possible solutions with three stakeholders: mothers in poverty, healthcare professionals, and volunteers representing the wider community. Components of this project have proven effective independently but will be tried in combination for the first time in this project.

    MAMA integrates powerful ideas about the causes of poverty and how poverty shapes behavior that are delivered through a class for mothers in poverty and through trainings to health care providers and volunteers. These shared concepts and vocabulary build a platform to investigate the health care system to identify what is working and what is not, and will be enhanced through a participatory evaluation process and quantifiable data collected on the most significant barriers.

    A key component in the program will be the transformative impact of positive social relationships and social capital for people in poverty. To create sustaining support for young mothers in this project, Circles of Care supported by area volunteers will be developed through partnerships with nonprofits and the faith based community.

    Meeting monthly, these Circles increase young mothers’ resiliency and capacity to carry out their own self-designed plan for building health, financial and other resources. They will also be a nexus for data collection on significant barriers and gaps in resources, as well as what is working. Interns from the University of Arizona and Arizona State University will support these Circles with logistics, data collection, and resource identification. This project has four goals:
    • To improve the health outcomes for low-income mothers and their children; 
    • To increase the capacity of health care professionals and community volunteers to serve low income mothers and their families; 
    • To increase the capacity of the volunteer network to connect low income mothers and their families to vital community resources and to on-going support; and 
    • To develop critical input from young mothers that informs and guides healthcare system 
changes and improved service delivery. 
    ¥ To develop critical input from young mothers that informs and guides healthcare system 
changes and improved service delivery. 
    The grant to Pima County was among $495,000 in Innovation Grants going to four organizations. Others were Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona, Feeding Matters and West Valley Community Paramedicine through the City of Goodyear Fire Department.


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