Serving the Most Vulnerable, Local Women for Thirty Years
Photography provided by Healthy Moms & Babes
Healthy Moms & Babes has been making a difference for mothers and infants for three decades, a milestone few non-profit agencies reach. Patricia A. Cruise, a Sister of Charity who is president and CEO of the organization, says one key factor for this success is a basic message of compassion. “We serve with compassion, and we want our moms to succeed.”
The experience is so positive for some of the women that they return to the agency to volunteer and, on occasion, become an employee.
The women served often face a seemingly impossible challenge: maintaining a healthy pregnancy and birth while living in sometimes critical situations involving poverty and limited access to medical care. In fact, the infant mortality rate in Hamilton County is the highest in the state (and African-American babies face a rate more than double that of white babies).
The agency fights back against these statistics in several ways. The Mobile Health Van is staffed by certified employees and volunteers who bring medical testing and education into the heart of communities where it is most needed and where the clients live. Women can receive screenings related to their pregnancies and other health concerns. The agency also connects women with resources that can help them find transportation to medical appointments, health insurance, social services, education and more.
Sr. Cruise says it’s more than just providing information and basic support for their clients, however. “Our goal is to break down the barriers together with our moms, but it’s also a place for ongoing emotional and spiritual support, and a place to come for encouragement, information and mentoring.”
Healthy Moms & Babes, originally known as Program for the Medically Underserved, was launched in 1986, the culmination of work between four women’s religious communities and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The agency has evolved from a single mobile van to a multi-pronged organization with a much larger scope throughout the local community. In the coming months, the agency will open Segale House, a transitional housing facility for some of the most vulnerable people in our community: pregnant women who are homeless.
Although the agency reaches more women than ever, Sr. Cruise says there are still approximately 3,500 additional women who were eligible for assistance in 2015. To help bridge the gap, she says the agency has been awarded a grant that will allow Healthy Moms & Babes to hire three additional caseworkers. This, combined with the opening of Segale House, should help the agency reach more women in need of services than ever.
Healthy Moms & Babes recently celebrated their 30th anniversary milestone with a gala, “Night of Music,” where almost 200 guests enjoyed dancing to music by Swampthang and catered food from Maury’s Tiny Cove. Veree Russell, a veteran of 20 years with the agency, received a special honor. Several prominent companies and individuals helped to sponsor this fundraising endeavor, including Dr. Mike Heile, Mercy Health, TriHealth, The SC Ministry Foundation, Brooks Flooring and Bell Event Centre.
Healthy Moms & Babes is located at 2270 Banning Road, Cincinnati, OH 45239. For more information, call 513.591.5600 or visit healthymomsandbabes.org.