Friends Of MFHS

Today is #GivingTuesday!

#GivingTuesday is here! There are two opportunities for you to double your gift to MFHS today!

As a supporter of Maternal & Family Health Services, we’d be honored if you would take this opportunity to donate on our Facebook page. Just click on the blue “donate” button on the page, follow the prompts, and Facebook will process your gift.

Your donation will go twice as far thanks to a matching gift from Facebook and PayPal (up to $7 million matched across the US!). The match starts at 8 AM today, and will likely run out early. If you plan to give and can do it right at 8, we appreciate it!

If you want to spread the word further, you can also create a Facebook fundraiser! Your fundraiser will also be matched dollar for dollar today only. Creating a fundraiser is easy.

Here’s how to create a fundraiser:

  • Go to
  • Facebook will prompt you for some details like an end date and goal.
  • Customize a title and description for your fundraiser. Be sure to include #GivingTuesday in your description!
  • Select a cover photo shown (or create your own).
  • From there you can invite friends, share on your News Feed or send a message.

For inspiration, or to borrow some text or a cover photo, visit this sample fundraiser:


Your second matching gift opportunity comes from AllOne Charities!

AllOne Charities is hosting its first matching gift fundraiser for 31 non-profits across Northeast Pennsylvania for #GivingTuesday!

  • All donations made on the AllOne website for MFHS will be matched up to $1000.
  • Gifts are being matched for a week: November 21st – 28th.
  • Visit the AllOne match day page by Wednesday November 28th to have your gift qualify for the match.


Happy #GivingTuesday, and thank you for your continued support of MFHS!

Two Opportunities to Match Your Gifts on #GivingTuesday 2018!

#GivingTuesday is November 27, 2018 – just two weeks away! MFHS is thrilled to announce that this year, there are even more ways for you to support us on #GivingTuesday, including two opportunities to have your gift matched! Here is the complete breakdown of everything that’s happening this year for #GivingTuesday!

  • AllOne Charities is hosting its first matching gift fundraiser for 31 non-profits across Northeast Pennsylvania for #GivingTuesday! All donations made on the AllOne site for MFHS will be matched up to $1000. Even better, AllOne is celebrating #GivingTuesday by matching gifts for an entire week! Any donations made from November 21st – 28th are all eligible to be matched! Visit the AllOne match day page starting on Wednesday the 21st to make your matching gift.
  • Facebook is partnering with PayPal to match gifts on #GivingTuesday. This year, they will match a total of 7 million dollars worth of donations! Each participating non-profit can get up to $250,000 matched, and each individual donor can give a gift up to $20,000 that will be matched. In 2017, matching dollars on Facebook ran out early, so we are asking anyone interested in donating on Facebook to make your gift early. The closer to 8 AM EST on November 27th, the better! You can donate directly on our Facebook page by clicking the blue donate button. You can also create a Facebook Fundraiser for MFHS by visiting our page here, and all gifts made in fundraisers are also eligible for matching dollars.
  • Download your MFHS UNselfie sheet and tell us why you give to MFHS! Last year, our donors, friends, family and staff all shared why they support MFHS and why they give, #FamilyToFamily. We shared the pictures across social media, and they were a huge hit! Help us do it again by snapping your picture and sending them to us on Facebook, or by posting them on Facebook with our hashtag.

MFHS Welcomes 5 New Board Members

Maternal and Family Health Services recently welcomed five new members to their board of directors. New members, pictured below, include Mike Burns, Vice President of Information Technology at Benco Dental; Christine Jensen, Administrator at PA CareerLink Luzerne County; Jennifer Sordoni, Community Volunteer; Estella Killian, Community Volunteer; and Paige Gebhardt, Director at the Scranton School Board .

All are looking forward to bring their expertise to the agency’s board to further the MFHS mission of care in the community.

MFHS Presents Awards at 47th Annual Meeting

Maternal & Family Health Services held its 47th Annual Meeting on October 17th at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre. At the event, five new members were appointed to the MFHS Board of Directors as the agency’s governing body reflected on the past year’s successes and challenges. In addition to this meeting, a luncheon and awards ceremony served to recognize and celebrate community members who are working tirelessly to help families in Northeast Pennsylvania. Several awards were given out at the event, including the Rose Allan Tucker Award. This award is given to an individual who exemplifies its namesake, a woman who was fearless in her dedication to improving women’s health in our community. By her tremendous courage and innovative spirit, the Rose Allan Tucker Award was presented to Kristen Topolski, whose efforts in developing critical resources for local women is reminiscent of this altruistic initiative.

Pictured are the 2018 award recipients: Maureen Maher-Grey of NEPA Youth Shelter, Kristen Topolski of Ruth’s Place/Volunteers of America Pennsylvania, MFHS President & CEO Bette Cox Saxton, and Karen Murphy, P.hD. of Geisinger’s Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation.

2018 MFHS Champion Award: Karen Murphy, PhD

The Maternal and Family Health Services Champion Award is given to an exemplary individual who is an innovative force for good in the community. This year, we are honored to award Dr. Karen Murphy the title of MFHS Champion. Karen Murphy, PhD, is an extraordinarily accomplished leader in the field of healthcare, currently serving as Executive Vice President, Chief Innovation Officer, and Founding Director of Geisinger’s Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation.

In her leadership role at Geisinger, and throughout her unique career, Dr. Murphy has embodied tireless dedication to the continual improvement of healthcare delivery to those in need in our community. In addition to her expansive responsibilities with Geisinger’s Steele Institute for Healthcare Innovation, Dr. Murphy utilizes her talents and intellect to educate. She works as a faculty member at Geisinger’s Commonwealth School of Medicine, and she is a published author and public speaker on topics including healthcare innovation.

Before working at Geisinger, Dr. Murphy held numerous other prestigious positions at exceptional healthcare institutions. She served as President and CEO of Moses Taylor Health Care System, and Director of the State Innovation Models Initiative at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Dr. Murphy previously worked as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, showing her unending interest in both public and private health concerns.

Through all of her roles, Dr. Murphy has always been a champion for Maternal & Family Health Services, as well as for women and children in our community. When the MFHS maternity program in Scranton was moving from CMC to Moses Taylor, Karen stepped in alongside another former MFHS Champion, Barb Bossi, to ensure the transition was seamless for the families enrolled. With their support, there was no interruption in care for any of the mothers in our maternity program.

MFHS congratulates Dr. Murphy on her tremendous work throughout her career, and we look forward to seeing how her innovative mindset will continue to improve the lives of those in our community.




Senator Lisa Baker Receives Force for Good Public Policy Award

Maternal & Family Health Services (MFHS), in conjunction with the national office of their program, the Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), awarded the Force for Good Public Policy Award to Pennsylvania State Senator Lisa Baker (R-Lehman).

Baker, who is serving her third term representing the 20th Senatorial District, successfully advocated for increasing the state appropriation for Nurse-Family Partnership from $11.9 million last year to $13.1 million in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

Through Baker’s extraordinary support and leadership, Maternal & Family Health Services will be able to expand the Nurse-Family Partnership program to improve health outcomes for more moms and babies in poverty.

“While we commonly praise the importance of the mother-child bond after birth, it is much harder to provide families living in poverty with the practical means for making good, healthy choices,” said Senator Baker. “For many years, I have seen what a blessing it is to have a caring and committed group, as the partnership is, so involved in making a difference in our communities.  This is a vital program with proven results and well deserving of the level of state support we have been able to achieve,” continued Baker.

Maternal & Family Health Services began offering the Nurse-Family Partnership program to first time mothers in Lackawanna and Wayne counties in 2002, and the program and has since expanded into Luzerne and Susquehanna counties. This nurse-home-visitor program guides at-risk, first-time mothers through pregnancy and offers support during the first two years of the child’s life.

Baker learned about Nurse-Family Partnership while working for former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge whose wife, Michele Ridge, championed the program as part of her Community Partnership for Safe Kids initiative.

Later, while serving as executive director of the Blue Ribbon Foundation of Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, Baker worked with the Northeastern Nurse-Family Partnership Collaborative to help expand its program. She continues to be an advocate for NFP as the chair of the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.

The Nurse-Family Partnership Force for Good Public Policy Award recognizes elected officials for making a difference for families in poverty. Dr. David Olds, founder of Nurse-Family Partnership, describes the impact of Nurse-Family Partnership as a force for good that changes the future for two generations.

Over 40 years of evidence show that Nurse-Family Partnership improves birth outcomes, child development and school readiness, reduces child abuse and neglect and juvenile crime, among other outcomes.

According to the RAND Corporation, every $1 invested in Nurse-Family Partnership can yield up to $5.70 in return for the highest-risk families served.

2018 Youth Partner Award: Maureen Maher-Gray

At this year’s annual meeting and community luncheon, MFHS will present Maureen Maher-Gray with the Youth Partner Award. This award is given to an individual who serves as a champion for teens and young adults, taking great measures to satisfy a need for the disenfranchised in our community. Her groundbreaking work in developing the NEPA Youth Shelter exemplifies her dedication to providing a safe, welcoming resource for teens.

Nearly a decade ago Ms. Maher-Gray relocated to Northeast Pennsylvania from Washington, almost immediately becoming an active member of the community, working as a realtor for a local company. She engaged in in political advocacy as part of the 2012 election cycle, encouraging impressive voter turnout in her district.

Maureen Maher-Gray later worked in a role that enabled her to understand the lack of resources for local at-risk teenagers. At the time of her discovery, the nearest youth shelter was in Allentown, and teens traveling long distances to reach the shelter were susceptible to becoming victims of crimes like human trafficking. This disturbing news lead her to establish the nonprofit organization NEPA Youth Shelter in 2016.

Since the organization’s creation, Maher-Gray has opened a drop-in center for teens in downtown Scranton. The NEPA Youth Shelter Teen Drop-In Center serves a safe place for at-risk teens to go after school. At the center, teens can do homework, socialize, and rest; the center also provides clothing, school supplies, food, and job resources for those who need them. An MFHS Reproductive Health Educator frequents the drop-in center weekly to provide reliable, accurate health information to the teens.

Reactions to the drop-in shelter have been extremely positive. An average of 35 teens visit the center each day, knowing that it a safe and enjoyable place to go after school. Ms. Maher-Gray, Executive Director of the NEPA Youth Shelter, plans to open an overnight youth shelter to continue making strides for teens in our community. Thank you Maureen for your continued commitment to the youth of Northeast Pennsylvania and congratulations!

MFHS CEO Bette Saxton Appointed to PA Dept of Health Committee

Maternal and Family Health Services announces that Bette Cox Saxton, MFHS President and CEO, has been appointed to the Pennsylvania Department of Health’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

The Maternal Mortality Review Committee works to evaluate cases of maternal death in the state in order to better understand the causes. By better understanding the causes of these deaths, the committee then reports on methods of increased awareness and prevention. The insights of the committee are distributed to government officials and healthcare providers, with the goal of preventing future maternal deaths.

Ms. Saxton has been the President and CEO of MFHS for over 13 years, during which time she has worked tirelessly to create and enhance programs that serve disenfranchised women and children in Northeast Pennsylvania. In addition, she has also utilized her sense of drive, compassion, and leadership in different roles with many local and national organizations, including the American Cancer Society, the Northeast Regional Cancer Institute, the Pennsylvania Coalition to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, the Pennsylvania Adolescent Health Task Force, and the Maternal and Child Health Advisory Committee for Pennsylvania. Through her extensive community involvement, Bette Cox Saxton has established herself as a dedicated, outstanding candidate for the Maternal Mortality Review Committee.

2018 Rose Allan Tucker Award: Kristen Topolski

At the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors of Maternal and Family Health Services, we will be honoring Kristen Topolski with the Rose Allan Tucker Award. Each year, the Rose Allan Tucker Award is presented to a distinguished individual who embodies the tremendous character of the award’s namesake. Rose Allan Tucker was a champion for women’s health in our community, devoting her life to working to improve access and care to women in Northeast Pennsylvania.

Kristen Topolski exemplifies this compassionate spirit, especially through her innovative efforts for both Ruth’s place and Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania. Ms. Topolski established Ruth’s Place, a local women’s shelter, with the hope to provide basic necessities like food and shelter to women in need in Northeast Pennsylvania; the shelter goes far beyond those basic necessities, however, providing women with access to healthcare and resources to help them obtain employment and permanent housing.

Through the creation and management of the only women’s shelter in Luzerne County, Kristen Topolski revealed her altruistic drive that motivates her to create new ways to help families in our community. She continued this mission by becoming Director of Wilkes-Barre Programming at Volunteers of America of Pennsylvania. In her leadership role as a director, Ms. Topolski is challenged to find new opportunities to make a difference in the lives of local children and families. Programs she has developed include housing support, a food pantry, and resources for pregnant and new mothers.

Thank you Kristen for your hard work and dedication to the women and children of Northeast Pennsylvania, and congratulations!


MFHS Seeking Nominations for 2018 Rose Allan Tucker Award

Maternal and Family Health Services is seeking nominations for the Rose Allan Tucker Award, which will be presented at the agency’s 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors on October 17th at the Westmoreland Club in Wilkes-Barre.

The late Rose Tucker was a former Luzerne County Commissioner and long-time employee of MFHS. She dedicated her life to public service as a community leader, political activist, health advocate, and champion for women, children and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania. She opened doors for women to take leadership roles in the community and extended herself to help those in need.

Since 1996, MFHS has celebrated her legacy by presenting the Rose Tucker Award to a person who demonstrates a deep commitment to improving the quality of life for women, children and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania. With her passing in 2009, the Rose Tucker Award has taken on even greater significance as it helps keep her legacy alive and serves as a reminder of Rose Tucker’s great contributions to the community.

Nominees for the award should demonstrate a long-term commitment to improving the quality of life in Northeastern Pennsylvania, and a significant positive impact on the health and welfare of women, children and families.

Nomination forms are available on our Annual Meeting page or by calling 1-800-367-6347. Deadline for submissions is August 27th, 2018.