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  • County wins $198,000 grant to assist young mothers

    Jun 26, 2017 | Read More News
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    The Pima County Health Department was awarded a $198,865 grant from the Public Health National Center for Innovations (PHNCI) with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) for the Mothers in Arizona Moving Ahead (MAMA) project, which assists young mothers and their children living in poverty. 
    Mama program
    MAMA 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, which has launched an “Ending Poverty Now” initiative as a part of a three-year economic development plan

    PHNCI grants support and facilitate efforts to strengthen innovation in governmental public health with the goal that programs can be replicated elsewhere. The project, which began July 1, 2016, was originally funded by the Vitalyst Foundation, whose goal is to improve the well-being of Arizonans by addressing the root causes and broader issues that affect health.

    The MAMA program was selected because its innovation work reflects the dynamic state of change inherent in public health transformation and has the potential to move the public health practice community “outside of their traditional comfort zones,” said Jessica Solomon Fisher, MCP, PHNCI chief innovations officer.

    “PHNCI is pleased to be able to provide these grants,” Fisher said. “Collectively, these innovations will transform public health practice and will inform public health accreditation standards far into in the future.”

    The Health Department and CSET 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.

    “The MAMA program is proud and excited to have been selected to receive this prestigious grant,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia, assistant county administrator for health services and chief medical officer. “These funds will help us to advance our innovative work and ultimately allow us to share lessons learned with others in the public health practice community.” 

    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. 

    To create sustaining support for young mothers in this project, Circles of Care supported by area volunteers or allies are being used in partnership 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. Community members who wish to become allies can contact Bonnie Bazata, Pima County’s Ending Poverty Now program manager, at Bonnie.Bazata@pima.gov, 520-724-3704.

    Goals of the project are:
    • 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 ongoing 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 MAMA program is one of nine public health organizations to be awarded an innovation grant. PHNCI, a division of the Public Health Accreditation Board with support and funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, was established in 2015 to help foster a multi-sector learning community that will help identify and test new and innovative practices to improve public health capacity. In this role, PHNCI serves as the hub for national public health innovations. 


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