Healthy Babies, Happy Moms
Dedicated Team Helps Children Reach Developmental MilestonesSeven registered nurses, two licensed clinical social workers, one registered dietician, 20 community health coordinators and three health educators make up the dedicated team of direct service staff of California-based Maternal Outreach Management System (MOMS), whose mission is to help women and their families have healthy babies by offering health care coordination, education, and access to community services. Says Executive Director Pamela Pimentel, RN, “We provide access to prenatal care, health screenings, infant development screenings and health education, in home visitation, nutritional guidance, and referrals to pregnant and parenting women and their babies in under-served communities.”
Numbers tell this success story, as do the happy smiles of young children and their parents. For nearly 15 years, MOMS has been providing Maternal Child Health Care Coordination services in
In 2005, Festival of Children Foundation granted MOMS funding in the amount of $10,962 for their Emergency Room Diversion Project. This project was developed in 2003 in response to MOMS’ astonishing finding that over 300 of 800 infants in their health care coordination program had an emergency room visit during their first year of life, despite having a medical home and receiving well baby care.
MOMS developed an educational module that teaches mothers how to appropriately use thermometers, to look up symptoms, and identify appropriate action steps if the baby appears ill. As a result of the implementation of this project, there was an 88% decrease in Emergency Room visits for MOMS clients. Says Elma Melendez (left, with her husband and baby), a program participant, “MOMS programs have helped me so much, and made me feel much more secure as a mother.”
Funding from the Foundation and other funding partners allowed MOMS to incorporate the services in the Emergency Room Diversion Project into its core services. “We are grateful to Festival of Children Foundation for their support of MOMS’ mission to help women and their families have healthy babies by offering health care coordination, education, and access to community services,” says Pimentel. “The health of the community has improved because MOMS’ mothers access prenatal care; babies are born healthy and reach their developmental milestones on time; and fathers are prepared for a positive role in the family.”
Considering the team’s small size, MOMS delivers an astounding array of programs and services that benefit the health and well-being of children and families. In
Another MOMS accomplishment is the creation of a replica of its services in another region. In collaboration with
Going forward, MOMS faces the challenge of expanding its services yet further. The number of babies born to mothers living in poverty in Orange County is steadily increasing, and as the number of babies born into poverty rises, so do the rates of poor birth outcomes. At the same time, the availability of community resources and pregnancy related services has continued to decrease.
The overall outcome of MOMS programs are clear: The organization’s intensive infant health care coordination has resulted in 100% of MOMS babies having health insurance and a medical home, 100% of MOMS babies being up to date with their immunizations, and 98% of MOMS babies identified as on track developmentally.
MOMS welcomes volunteer involvement. You can hold a baby shower to benefit MOMS so they can provide layettes to their clients, collect small incentive gifts for parents attending their classes, "adopt" a needy family for the holidays or longer, or donate your talents (teaching, translating, office skills, for example).