Astoria Federal Supports South Nassau Communities Hospital's Perinatal Program for Medically Underserved
Oceanside, NY, March 26, 2014 --(PR.com
)-- Astoria Federal Savings has once again made a $7,500 donation in support of a program offered by South Nassau Communities Hospital’s Family Medicine Center that is designed to combat the elevated health risks and poorer health outcomes, including infant mortality, of medically-underserved pregnant women and their newborns.
"As a Long Island headquartered and focused community bank, Astoria Federal Savings is proud to help South Nassau Communities Hospital deliver health education, support and perinatal care to women in and around the South Shore community. Their proactive approach gives babies the best possible chance for a long and healthy life in the many communities that Astoria Federal supports,” said Brian Edwards, Executive Vice President, Astoria Federal Savings.
“This is the third consecutive year that Astoria Federal Savings has made a generous gift in support of South Nassau’s mission to provide programs and services that address the range of health issues and problems facing the residents and communities we serve,” said Elizabeth Nardone, vice president of development at South Nassau.
Undesirable outcomes such as premature birth and low birth weights are serious problems affecting more than half a million infants in the United States each year, at a cost of more than $26 billion annually. Premature birth is the leading cause of infant death, and babies who survive often face the risk of lifetime health challenges, including cerebral palsy, respiratory impairment and developmental delays.
South Nassau Family Medicine Center’s Perinatal Education Program is working to reduce these often preventable outcomes. It was one of four sites selected in 2013 to participate in the Nassau County Department of Health’s evidence-based research project, Baby Basics, which assesses the effectiveness of a new curriculum designed specifically for low-income women, many of whom have low literacy skills. The program offers educational materials for patients, along with training and technical assistance for staff in providing prenatal education and health literacy skills to underserved families, with the goal of improving health outcomes for both parents and their children. In 2013, the Family Medicine Center provided individual education and counseling to 420 newly pregnant women. During this same period, these pregnant and/or parenting women and their families were also offered pregnancy and parenting education classes. Program evaluations consistently showed that the program is effective in improving patients’ knowledge of self-care and infant care, increasing breast feeding rates – an important benchmark for assessing maternal and child health outcomes – and improving access to care.
The Perinatal Education Program provides culturally and linguistically appropriate counseling and patient education services that aim to improve health outcomes for pregnant and parenting women and their newborns, enhancing women’s capacity for self-care during and after pregnancy, and improving their knowledge of recommended infant care. Activities include classroom-based instruction and individualized patient education sessions in both Spanish and English. Topics include nutrition, physical activity, understanding when to seek medical attention, stages of fetal and infant development, learning how newborns signal their needs, and safety tips for the home environment.