A $4.5 million grant program from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration has been awarded to the Indiana Rural Health Association. Joanah Wischmeier, the new IRHA project director for the “Healthy Start Communities that Care” program, says it will provide confidential screening, support, referrals, treatment and education for expectant mothers, infants and families.
The HSCC program will include all pregnant and interconception women in the four counties who are identified as at-risk or high-risk for poor perinatal outcomes and have already been identified as having a high-risk pregnancy.
The program aims to improve health outcomes for mothers and their babies, and positively impact family health.
Five new onsite medical professionals will be trained and employed full-time through IRHA grant funding at hospitals, clinics and doctor’s offices in the four contiguous counties for the program.
“A variety of socio-demographic, cultural and economic issues – combined with high-risk factors like chronic disease, obesity and behaviors like smoking – contribute to these high rates of infant mortality in these rural areas,” said Wischmeier. “There exists a strategic gap in available prenatal through infant-related services across these rural districts, which we plan to bridge for mothers, infants and families in these areas and beyond.”