Assessing Maternal and Child Health in Western New York

Dates: 2013

State: New York

Client(s): Health Foundation of Western and Central NY

Services: Health Care & Public Health Planning, Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Family Planning & Reproductive Health, Rural Health, Safety Net, Maternal and Child Health


The Health Foundation for Western and Central New York's (HFWCNY) mission is to support children and frail elders in 16 counties in two regions; one in western New York, centered around Buffalo; the other in central New York around Syracuse.

Over the years, HFWCNY has invested a great deal of resources to support and build the capacity of the maternal and child health system in each region. The foundation conducted an assessment drawing on maternal and child health secondary data that identified geographic “hot spots” at the ZIP code-level. The foundation has also funded extensive qualitative interviews with parents who use prenatal and early childhood services to understand their needs and assess how well the existing service system is meeting those needs.

The foundation hired JSI to conduct a series of interviews and site visits with a range of maternal and child health providers to help HFWCNY understand the strengths and weaknesses of western New York's maternal and child health system and to identify best practices and programs that could be supported and replicated in the region.

JSI's assessment identified 3 overarching needs across communities:

- There is a need for strengthened collaboration between medical (hospitals, prenatal providers, and pediatricians) and community based providers (home visiting, WIC, and others) to better support identification of women in need, developing coordinated and shared plans for families, and coordinating services.
- Effective education of families must consider the influence of other role models, most significantly grandmothers, but also peers. Inclusion of fathers in parenting education programs has been successful but there have not been adequate resources to strengthen and expand these types of services.
- Currently there is limited discussion by community providers on how their current efforts are linked to state and regional maternal and child health planning and initiatives.

JSI has developed a report summarizing findings and recommending ways that HFWCNY could continue to support and strengthen the region's maternal and child health system.