News

NICHQ and the National Healthy Start Association Partner to Provide Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Assistance to Healthy Start Grant Recipients

July 31, 2019

BOSTON- For nearly 30 years, Healthy Start has helped improve the health of moms, babies, and families across the country by strengthening communities and improving systems of community care. The National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ) and the subcontractor, the National Healthy Start Association (NHSA), are proud to announce that they have been selected by the Health Resources and Services Administration, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to lead the Supporting Healthy Start Performance Project.

In this role, NICHQ and NHSA will design and deliver comprehensive training and technical assistance to build capacity in 100 community-based Healthy Start programs, all of which provide support to communities where poverty and lack of resources contribute to persistent disparities in maternal and infant health outcomes. Together, NICHQ and NHSA will ensure that each Healthy Start grant recipient receives the support necessary to deliver high quality services, achieve systems change, and improve perinatal and family health outcomes in communities across the country.

“We’re thrilled to support a program that has been invaluable to the health and well-being of children and families, and is so keenly focused on pursuing equitable perinatal health outcomes,” says NICHQ President and CEO Scott D. Berns, MD, MPH, FAAP. “Having led multiple national perinatal health improvement initiatives, we know that eliminating disparities relies on building the capacity of communities, which is what makes this work so essential. We’ll be partnering directly with grantees positioned to make an immediate impact in their communities, and we’re committed to providing them with the support and resources they need to make meaningful, sustainable change."

“I am ecstatic and grateful for this opportunity to work together with NICHQ and the Division of Healthy Start and Perinatal Services to continue building the capacity of the Healthy Start program,” says NHSA CEO Deborah Frazier. “I’ve been connected to the Healthy Start programs since its inception, as it has evolved and changed to successfully address those issues that contribute to poor birth outcomes across the country. This is an exciting time in the program’s history, with recent program changes such as including a larger cadre of rural programs and an addition of clinical components to address maternal mortality. We’re excited to be part of the leadership team, working with other key partners to deliver a broad spectrum of high-quality technical assistance to the Healthy Start family.”

Over a five-year period, NICHQ and NHSA will build the capacity of grant recipients through technical assistance on pertinent clinical and public health topics, such as fatherhood and breastfeeding, and individualized training for program staff on core competencies, including leadership, quality improvement, and community engagement. To encourage collaboration and knowledge-transfer, NICHQ and NHSA will maintain a public facing website, an internal online community and workspace for grantees, and will launch a Collaborative Innovation Network (CoIN) where grantees can work together on innovative solutions and strategies.

“I’ve been involved with Healthy Start since it first began, so directing this initiative reflects a nearly 30-year commitment to this program,” says NICHQ Project Director Kenn Harris. “Having seen firsthand the difference Healthy Start has made for children and families, I am eager to guide this work at the national level and directly support all Healthy Start grant recipients. I am especially energized about working with fathers—Healthy Start was the first national program to really embed fatherhood in maternal and child health and, in this iteration of the program, we’ll be including fathers and male partners as full participants. We have an incredible team of national experts that have come together to partner with us, and we’re all committed to maximizing the potential of this initiative."

This webpage and email are supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $12,322,812. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Caitlin Forbes
Caitlin Forbes
NICHQ Senior Manager, Marketing & Digital Strategy
cforbes@nichq.org or 617-391-2727