Celebrating a Milestone

Photo provided by Healthy Moms & Babes

After 30 years of working in collaboration with social service agencies and healthcare providers, Healthy Moms & Babes (HMB) has evolved from a simple van service to a wraparound, integrated agency serving pregnant women in high-risk neighborhoods where infant mortality statistics are among the worst in the country.

“At no cost to the client,” Sister Tricia Cruise says, “we are advocates for these women and walk right beside them to test, educate, refer and care so they may thrive and succeed as women, as mothers and as active members of their communities.”

That concept is what drove the organization’s vision when four women’s religious communities and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati founded the agency in 1986. Services originated under the name of Program for the Medically Underserved. From the start, HMB operated as a faith-based health education/health promotion outreach program for low-income and indigent individuals. Sister Pat Dowling, the original director, oversaw the mission from 1986-89. She was followed by Kay Brogle who took over for 25 years. Sister Tricia is the current president and CEO.

Today, Healthy Moms & Babes ensures that women and children have access to needed services. Focusing on the individual, HMB commits to helping the community’s most vulnerable women achieve successful pregnancies, thriving babies, enhanced parenting skills, expanded understanding of personal health and progress toward self-sufficiency.

Giovanna’s story reflects the work of the agency. She knocked on the van door for the first time in the 10th grade, very frightened and resentful of her situation because she was pregnant. Through the referral process, she was able to enroll in Healthy Moms & Babes home-visiting services and began to feel empowered from lessons, coaching and direction. Her confidence soon blossomed into a determined young mom with a promising path she had set forth for herself. 

Completing high school in May 2010, she went on to study nursing. In the summer of 2011, Giovanna completed her state-tested Certified Nursing Assistance training and found related employment. She maintains planned routines for herself and her son while utilizing the parenting lessons she learned from her home visitor. Successfully “graduating” from the Healthy Moms & Babes Help Me Grow program in August 2011, her life is new and good.

“People tend to assume you can’t achieve greatness from a teen mom, but I will be an example to all doubters,” says Giovanna, who is a role model for young women in her neighborhood. “I am grateful for my Healthy Moms & Babes experience.” 

The future looks bright for the women of HMB. “We are alive because of the commitment of our staff and the trust of our clients,” Brogle said during her tenure. 

“It’s been a pretty amazing 30 years,” Sister Tricia says. “One of our first programs was the van service. We have evolved and will continue to evolve with the needs of the times. 

“But there’s still so much more to do. We will need the communities’ help to achieve a world where no child is born premature. Please stop by our van for a visit to see what we do – the schedule is listed online.”

Healthy Moms & Babes is located at 2270 Banning Road, Cincinnati, OH 45239. You can reach them at 513.591.5600 or visit their website at www.healthymomsandbabes.org.