Archive for the ‘ Executive Director ’ Category

Pregnant Women and H1N1: What You Need to Know

It is not known if the H1N1 virus will cause pregnant women to have a greater chance of getting sick or have serious problems or how the virus will affect babies. What is known is that pregnant women are more likely to get sick than others and tend to have more serious problems with seasonal flu. These problems may include early labor or severe pneumonia. No one is sure if H1N1 virus will have the same affects, but it should be taken very seriously.

The CDC has provided everyday steps to help prevent the spread of germs and protect your health:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based gel hand cleaners are also good to use.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people. (If you are pregnant and you live or have close contact with someone who has H1N1 flu, talk to your doctor about medicines to prevent flu.)
  • Have a plan to care for sick family members.
  • Stock up on household, health, and emergency supplies, such as water, Tylenol®, non-perishable foods.

What to do if you are breastfeeding:

  • A mother’s milk is made to fight diseases in her baby. This is really important in young babies when their immune system is still growing.
  • Do not stop breastfeeding if you are ill. Breastfeed early and often. Limit formula feeds if you can. This will help protect your baby from infection.
  • Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby’s face, wash your hands often with soap and water.
  • Your doctor might ask you to wear a mask to keep from spreading this new virus to your baby.
  • If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give the expressed milk to your baby.

If you would like to watch the video archive of the August 27th Webcast on what pregnant women and new mothers can do to prepare for the H1N1 flu, please visit

You can also visit:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant Women and Novel Influenza A (H1N1)
Virus: Considerations for Clinicians.

Home Visiting Programs Improve Women & Children’s Health

Since February, Home Visiting Programs have been the topic of conversations within the Obama Administration, the 2010 budgets and within the walls of our very own organizations. They are vital to the health and well-being of women and children, especially those living in low-income and very low-income communities. Late last week, the Guttmacher Institute released a statement about their new policy analysis that was published in their Summer 2009 issue of the Guttmacher Policy Review, indicating benefits of such programs on women and children.

Here is a snapshot of what they had to say on their website:

Home visiting programs that would be significantly expanded under a new initiative proposed by the Obama administration have demonstrated modest but important benefits for children and significant benefits for women, according to a new policy analysis published in the Summer 2009 issue of the Guttmacher Policy Review. Home visiting programs pair new families—particularly low-income, single-parent ones—with trained professionals who provide parenting information, resources and support throughout a child’s first few years.

“Home visiting programs have gained some real and well-deserved traction, especially with the Obama administration’s request for $8.6 billion over the next 10 years,” says Heather Boonstra, author of the policy analysis. “The current health care reform effort could well be the vehicle to secure funding for the program, as home visiting provisions have a good chance of being included if and when reform legislation is enacted.”

The rest can be accessed here, as well as link to the Policy Review where the article was published:

National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

2009 Banner

Today marks the 1st day of September and the beginning of National Infant Mortality Awareness Month. As an organization whose primary focus is to reduce infant mortality, especially in minority communities where the rates are significantly higher than other communities, this is a special month for NHSA.

In 2005, Congressman Michael C. Burgess, 26th District of Texas, introduced Resolution 402 directing Congress to observe September as National Infant Mortality Awareness Month and the U.S. House of Representatives passed the resolution in September 2006. Since then, September has been nationally recognized as the month where we focus on increasing awareness about infant mortality, highlight the factors that contribute to infant mortality and urge community leaders to rally with us to help reduce the number of babies dying before their 1st birthday. The United States continues to have one of the highest rates of infant mortality at 6.78 according to a 2008 CDC report.  Sadly, babies in Black, Hispanic and American Indian communities are dying at rates that are 3-4 times higher than White communities. Many minority communities also have infant mortality rates that are 3 times higher than the national rate!

To commemorate the month, NHSA and the 102 Healthy Start projects around the country will be hosting or participating in a series of community events.  From community block parties in Indianapolis to a 5k Run/Walk in Rockville, MD, we will all be doing our part to educate and inform women, men, businesses, and others about infant mortality. We ask that you join us this September, but also in the months to come to help us give babies a healthy start.

My plea to you is to do at least one thing, no matter how big or small, that will help our country have healthier babies. Whether it is taking an expectant friend to her first trimester appointment or volunteering with teen girls to discuss healthy lifestyles, you can help save the life of a baby. Together we can help families be healthier and have healthy babies!

Check out NHSA’s website for events occuring in Healthy Start communities this month.

The  Office of Minority Health has a listing of NIMAM events occurring around the country.

September is National Infant Mortality Awareness Month

Welcome to the NHSA Blog!

The National Healthy Start Association is venturing out into the world of social media and has launched a new blog, “Healthy from the Start”.  We are very excited about the potential conversations we will have through the blog. Topics and news stories will focus on the health of women and children but also on the overall health of families in this country.

NHSA is committed to reducing  infant mortality and health disparities, specifically in minority communities. Our plan is to update you on how we are achieving this goal and how you can play a role in ensuring there are healthy women, healthy children, and healthy communities. Through the blog, we will also share what Healthy Start Projects are doing in communities around the country to improve birth outcomes, reduce pre-term births, increase access to prenatal care, and eliminate domestic violence. There are 102 Healthy Start projects in 38 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico that are on the frontlines in some of the poorest neighborhoods ensuring that women and children are healthy. The blog will help tell their stories.

We hope that you will visit this blog regularly to stay current on not just what Healthy Start is doing but also what our national partners and others are doing around the world to improve the health of women and children. From policy updates on home visitation to a story on reproductive health in Uganda, we will keep you informed on the happenings of women and children’s health globally. We will feature posts from our partners in the field of maternal and child health (MCH) and our friends in the community.

We are so thrilled about where this new avenue of communication will take us and that you will join us on this journey as we effect change for the health of women, children, and families. We know that with healthy families we will have healthy communities.