Friends Of MFHS

A Special Farewell For Bette Cox Saxton

As she prepares to leave Maternal and Family Health Services, we wanted to take a moment to say thank you and best wishes to MFHS President & CEO Bette Cox Saxton. We asked some of our friends and community partners to record a special message for Bette before she starts her new adventure.

Thank you for all that you’ve done for the women and children of Northeast Pennsylvania, and for everything you’ve done for MFHS! #MFHSproud

Maternal and Family Health Services President and CEO to Step Down in June

Bette Cox Saxton

Maternal & Family Health Services, Inc. announced today that Bette Cox Saxton will step down as MFHS President & Chief Executive Officer in June.

“I will be leaving to pursue some exciting opportunities and new challenges in the next chapter of my career. It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as the leader of this most outstanding organization,” Saxton said in a statement released to the Board of Directors. ”Maternal and Family Health Services is well positioned to continue its mission of meeting the needs of the community through our health and social services. Over the years, I have learned volumes about the value of public health and the positive impact our services have on the lives of women, children, men and families in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

During her 20 years at MFHS, Saxton’s vision, creativity and commitment have resulted in significant expansion of opportunities for low-income women, children, and families throughout Northeastern Pennsylvania. Some of her most notable accomplishments at MFHS include expanding the Nurse-Family Partnership to four counties meet the increasing need for home visiting nurses from this highly regarded, evidence-based program.

In addition, Saxton oversaw the expansion of Scranton’s Circle of Care Center, which integrates all MFHS services in a one- stop model– delivering comprehensive, high-quality, accessible reproductive healthcare and social services to women and children in Lackawanna County. In 2018, she launched a behavioral health integrated care model with the addition of a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) to counsel and support pregnant women and mothers battling substance abuse and behavior health issues.

Under her leadership, MFHS developed the SafeTeens initiative, which includes an award-winning website and a national textline that enables teens to get accurate and even personalized health information to make healthy, positive choices. This concept has become the foundation for SafePlace school initiatives in the region.

Saxton’s tireless and vigilant advocacy on behalf of MFHS with both state and federal legislators has been critical to the success of the organization. The key relationships she has forged with legislators have helped strengthen MFHS’ position in non-profit health and human services sector, particularly during periods of funding shortfalls.

She has consistently promoted increased collaboration among area non-profits, and as a result MFHS now works closely with such programs as Healthy MOMS and FREE2B Mom to help mothers with opioid abuse disorder lead healthy lives in recovery. Her focus on collaboration has also led great organizational efficiencies, including co-locating many of MFHS service centers with community partners to increase access to vital programs and services for the entire community.

“Bette’s a true visionary who whose keen strategic and goal-oriented mindset enabled the organization to grow, evolve and prosper to meet the ever-changing needs of the clients we serve,” said MFHS Board Chair Kathy Finsterbusch. “The Board is very grateful for her dedication and, of course, the many accomplishments she achieved during her two decades of leadership; however, we also understand and support her decision and begin a new chapter of her professional career.”

“I can honestly relate that I have learned and embraced valuable life lessons and was given tremendous opportunities in a field that I have personally and passionately committed to for most of my life,” said Saxton. “I’m both humbled and grateful to lead an organization that has so positively touched the lives of literally hundreds of thousands of individuals during my tenure. I look forward to the next few months remaining in my role as I endeavor to continue our good work and do all I can to ease the transition for my successor.”

The non-profit’s board of directors has commenced a search for her successor.

Double Your Impact on #GivingTuesday 2019!

#GivingTuesday 2019 is almost here! Mark your calendars – this international day of giving is happening on December 3rd, 2019, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving. MFHS is thrilled to announce that we will be partnering with AllOne Charities for the second year in a row to celebrate #GivingTuesday! Your donation will be doubled thanks to the generosity of AllOne. Here is what you need to know:

  • Every gift made to MFHS up to $1,000 total will be matched by AllOne. Donations must be made via the AllOne Charities website to qualify for the match.
  • You can make you donation from Wednesday, November 27th until Wednesday, December 4th at 4pm.

New this year: AllOne is offering two bonuses to the non-profits participating in 2019:

  • The non-profit that raises the most money earns a $1,000 bonus.
  • The non-profit with the most individual donors also earns a $1,000 bonus.

Please mark your calendars and consider making an end of year gift to support MFHS via the AllOne #GivingTuesday website. Every gift, large and small, will help us continue to provide life changing health and nutrition services to women, children and families in Northeast Pennsylvania.


MFHS Seeking Nominations for the 2019 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 48th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors and Community Awards Luncheon in mid-October 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.

Nominations are being accepted online on the agency’s website or by calling 1-800-367-6347.  Deadline for submissions is August 21st, 2019.

MFHS Annual Golf Tournament to be held June 13th

Maternal & Family Health Services’ 26th Annual Golf Tournament will be held on Thursday, June 13th at Blue Ridge Trail Golf Club in Mountain Top. This annual golf tournament is an opportunity for golfers throughout Northeast Pennsylvania to enjoy a fun day while making a difference in the lives of women, children and families in Northeast Pennsylvania.

The MFHS Golf Tournament, open to all interested golfers, is a four person captain and crew format. The fee is $125 per person, $500 for a foursome, which includes the cart, green fees, lunch, barbecue dinner and refreshments. The golf tournament will be held rain or shine, with a shotgun start at 12:30 pm, and both men and women are invited. The top male and female flight will each win one of the grand prizes. In addition, the tournament will also feature a silent auction and various raffles during the day.

Motorworld, Wilkes-Barre, is sponsoring the hole-in-one contest at this year’s tournament. The hole-in-one prize is a new car and will go to the lucky golfer at the MFHS Tournament who gets a hole-in-one on the contest hole.

Individual golfers and sponsors provide monies that help strengthen MFHS and its health and nutrition programs that have served thousands of individuals in Northeast Pennsylvania for more than 40 years.  Maternal & Family Health Services focuses its efforts on improving the overall health and wellness of women, children and families in our communities.

To register or offer a sponsorship, visit the MFHS website A variety of sponsorship opportunities are available for individuals and organizations who are interested in supporting MFHS in its mission.

Collaborating to Combat the Opioid Epidemic – Scranton Times Editorial

This exclusive op-ed from MFHS President & CEO Bette Cox Saxton ran in the Scranton Times Tribune on Sunday, May 5th.

Last year, Maternal & Family Health Services celebrated 45 years of its Maternity Program, which today is still delivering babies through its Healthy Beginnings Plus Program at Scranton’s MFHS Circle of Care site and Commonwealth Moses Taylor Hospital.  Of the newborns delivered at Moses Taylor last year, 93 percent were considered high-risk deliveries.

With this significantly growing percentage of high-risk deliveries, our organization could not ignore the increasing number of pregnant women with Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) in our own programs and in our communities, particularly in Lackawanna, Susquehanna and Luzerne Counties.  The most recent data for Lackawanna and Luzerne counties reported that 150 newborns with Medicaid were born dependent on drugs, referred to as Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS).  Since that 2016 report, we have seen addicted mothers in our programs triple in numbers!

We recognize that addiction is a disease that demands a comprehensive, compassionate approach to support, treatment and recovery.  This means leveraging our interventions to serve mothers and their children within our program models as well as collaborating with community partners to effectively coordinate services for the mother, her baby and her family.

The collective impact in addressing serious and other community issues, which means that stakeholders can perform their respective roles optimally while also collaborating with each other effectively, is an increasingly important goal of ours as we address emerging community needs. We are striving to nurture a culture of collective impact so that non-profits, private and public funders collaborate and grow together to best serve the needs of the community.

Our primary goals are to ensure that women with OUD have access to Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT) and related addiction services, and to develop the cross-system linkages necessary to ensure services are coordinated across the system of prevention, intervention and treatment. With these goals in mind, we have successfully embarked upon on key, collaborative initiatives in our efforts to address this very serious national health epidemic.

One such initiative, Healthy MOMS (Healthy Maternal Opioid Medical Support), a collaborative effort among seven regional organizations and government agencies, offers a comprehensive approach to provide care and treatment to new and pregnant moms with OUD in Lackawanna and Susquehanna counties, where the rate of hospitalized infants born dependent on drugs (NAS) in fiscal 2016 and 2017 was nearly twice the national average.

Healthy MOMS embraces a non-judgmental and community-based approach to care and connects pregnant women struggling with OUD with a network of providers offering a range of services, from prenatal and postpartum care, addiction treatment and more. The group’s vision was to develop one coordinated care plan for opioid addicted women in which strength of communications systems exists among its partners. The intended impact is a “no wrong door” approach to entering of care.

MFHS is providing prenatal, labor and delivery, gynecological care, nutrition and family support through home visits by the highly skilled nurses in our Nurse-Family Partnership program. Women who participate in Healthy MOMS receive support throughout their pregnancy, at the hospital and after giving birth. This support can also include assistance with housing, childcare, transportation, medically-assisted treatment, substance abuse counseling, case management, mental health counseling and medical care for mom and infant. Since the Healthy MOMS program began in the fall of 2018, 40 women  have enrolled in the program.

In another initiative taking place at our Circle of Care site in Scranton, MFHS is a member of a Behavioral Health Integration of Care model with five community partners that is being facilitated by Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine. As a result of a grant from the Highmark Foundation, we added a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) who is performing substance abuse and depression screenings for all of our family planning clients in Lackawanna County. We hope to replicate these evidenced-based screenings in other MFHS family planning centers and offer screening best practices to our interested network sub-recipients.

We also recently launched a school-based behavioral health project in Lackawanna County, spearheaded by a Masters Level Social Worker, who recently began screening middle school students and providing direct referrals as needed for behavioral health, substance abuse or reproductive health services.  Looking ahead, we have partnered in Geisinger Wyoming Valley’s forthcoming ‘Free 2B MOM’ project, in which MFHS Nurse-Family Partnership registered nurses will provide home visiting to recovering pregnant women.

In the final analysis, the opioid epidemic has hit our region particularly hard, and far too often it affects the lives of those most vulnerable, especially the young women, infants and families right here in our community. But we all must find solace in the fact that many like-minded organizations are seeing their way to contribute their individual resources and collaborate to ensure that the collective impact of our efforts truly do make a difference in this battle we are all committed to fight.



Bette Cox Saxton
President & CEO
Maternal and Family Health Services

Governor Wolf Declares May WIC Month

May is WIC Month in Pennsylvania! May 2019 is the 45th year of WIC working to improving nutrition-related health and birth outcomes for women, infants and children throughout the commonwealth. The Allegheny County Health Department opened the first WIC clinic and issued the first WIC voucher on May 28, 1974.

This 45th anniversary year will be remembered for the implementation of the Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC) card for Pennsylvania WIC families to use their WIC food benefits. The dedication of state and local agency WIC staff, along with our contractors, has brought this to fruition.  WIC families involved with the pilot rollout in Blair, Centre, Clinton and Lycoming counties are excited about eWIC and have expressed their satisfaction. MFHS staff are looking forward to rolling out this new system in our service area in the fall.

Thank you Governor Wolfe for proclaiming May 2019 as WIC Month!  Click the image below to read the proclamation.

Berks County WIC Open House

Maternal and Family Health Services is partnering with Berks Community Health Center to hold a Mother’s Day open house at our new co-located Berks County WIC Nutrition Center. We will be offering a variety of activities including free haircuts provided by Great Clips, an interactive trailer provided by Aetna, crafts, face painting, community organization tables, tours of our facilities, refreshments and more!

Learn more about the event on our Facebook event page, and we hope you’ll join us this Saturday in Reading!

Shenandoah Cancer Screening Event: April 15

Click to enlarge.

MFHS will be hosting a cancer screening event at the Shenandoah Senior Living Community on April 15! The event includes a free clinical breast exam and mammogram.

MFHS provides free, life-saving screenings for breast and cervical cancer for eligible women throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. Early Detection is key to surviving breast and cervical cancer. These preventative cancer screening services help detect breast and cervical cancer at its earliest stages, when treatment options are less costly and chances for survival are greatest. This free program is for women who:

-are age 40-64 (individuals under age 40 who meet eligibility or have high risk factors may also qualify)
-meet income guidelines
-have no or limited health insurance

Call today to set up an appointment at at 1-877-MAMMO-4-U. Transportation assistance may be available. Free gift to women who participate.

AllOne Foundation Supports Healthy MOMS Program

Thank you to the AllOne Foundation for supporting the Healthy MOMS program. This grant will help MFHS and our partner organizations continue to support mothers in recovery in Lackawanna County. Learn more about the Healthy MOMS program here: