MFHS News

2019 Community Partner Award: Lackawanna College

MFHS is thrilled to announce that our 2019 Community Partner Award is going to Lackawanna College at our 48th annual meeting. Starting in 2018, Lackawanna College began providing full-tuition scholarships for clients from MFHS who are enrolled in the Nurse-Family Partnership program in an effort to continue to provide affordable, high quality educational opportunities to the residents of Northeastern Pennsylvania. The organizations will collaborate to select one NFP client from each division of MFHS in Lackawanna and Luzerne counties. Candidates for the scholarships are identified by MHFS and chosen by Lackawanna based on the applicant’s academic potential, financial need, and other variables that are best exemplified by the potential student.

“We are especially grateful to Lackawanna College for its very thoughtful and generous scholarship offerings,” said Bette Cox Saxton, President and CEO of MFHS. “It’s a remarkable opportunity for individuals who otherwise would be unlikely or unable to attend such an outstanding academic institution.”

Started in 1894 for the purpose of providing a quality education to all persons seeking to improve their lives and thus better the community, Lackawanna College has been educating inhabitants of Northeastern Pennsylvania for 125 years. Located in downtown Scranton, Lackawanna College is one of the oldest educational institutions in the region. Originally consisting of a business school to educate breaker boys of local coal mines in 1902, the college eventually grew to offer civil service courses and education classes for women actively seeking to enter the workforce. Once again the college adapted after World War II, now allowing returning veterans to seek further education after the war efforts and expanding curriculum to fit occupational needs of the time.

Today, the college offers roughly 30 different bachelor’s and associate degree options. Some programs include: Accounting, Human Services, and Hospitality Management. It also has a number of certificate programs and competitive training institutes. Though right now the college does not have a wide variety of four year degree options, being that it just started offering bachelor’s degrees in 2017, the institute is continuously working on expanding its reach within the coming years to better cater to the changing educational environment.

Congratulations Lackawanna College and thank you for your continued support of our clients!

 

 

 

2019 Youth Partner Award: Erin Keating

The 2019 recipient of the Youth Partner Outreach Award is Erin Keating. Keating will receive this award at the MFHS 48th Annual Meeting & Community Luncheon for her help in developing the MFHS SafeSpace health resource center within the Scranton School District. Her drive to get the program up and running, as well as her continued support and dedication to the health resource center until her departure from the school district, are what make her the ideal choice for the 2019 Youth Partner Outreach Award.

Dr. Keating received her BSED in English from West Chester University. She then went on to receive her M.S Ed. from Wilkes University along with her doctorate degree. Her doctoral dissertation focused on School-Based Health Centers and indicators in academic achievement, which ultimately helped Keating in her development of the Scranton health resource center. Working in the Scranton School District as the Chief of Leadership Development and School Operations, Keating helped to set the foundation for the now thriving health resource center. This center offers an opportunity for teens to ask questions to trusted adults, an opportunity to learn more about making healthy life choices, and an opportunity to receive referrals for health care as needed. The Safe Space Health Resource Center educators offer confidential counseling resources to those who may need their assistance as well as an engaging delivery method of said information.

Before her time in Scranton, Dr. Keating worked within the Wyoming Valley West School District. While there, she served as a middle school teacher, an elementary school  principal, and a high school principal. She is currently the Superintendent of the Old Forge School District. Keating has been involved in many school-based civic organizations within both Luzerne and Lackawanna Counties. In these organizations, she has often been the voice of public education and the needs of students. She has completed two terms on the Board of Directors for the Pennsylvania Association of Student Assistance Professional as the Vice President. Today, she is a member of the Board of Trustees for Luzerne County Community College and an adjunct instructor in the Education Department at King’s College. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma International Society for Key Women Educators.

Thank you Erin Keating for all that you have done, and continue to do, as a youth educator, and congratulations on the award!

 

 

 

2019 Rose Allan Tucker Award: Maureen Rinehimer

During this year’s Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors, MFHS will be presenting the Rose Allan Tucker Award to Maureen Rinehimer. Earning her PhD from Seaton Hall University in Health and Medial Sciences, with a focus in Movement Sciences, Rinehimer has dedicated her time as a physical therapist to serving the children of Northeast Pennsylvania.

Working as a children’s physical therapist for over 40 years, she spends more than 300 hours per year treating children at Misericordia University’s (MU) Pro Bono Clinic, where she often utilizes her own funds to provide toys and other equipment to the children that she serves. Her help in developing the above clinic, which provides services to those who are uninsured or underinsured, is one of the many reasons in which Rinehimer is the perfect recipient for this years Rose Allan Tucker Award. She goes above and beyond the duty of Assistant Professor at Misericordia University, not only coaching her students in the correct physical therapy practices, but also dedicating so much of her time to bettering the facilities of the MU Clinic for all who have the pleasure of encountering it. Even when students are away on breaks, one can find Rinehimer working with patients at the MU Clinic.

In her practice, Rinehimer pays special attention to children with developmental disabilities, such as autism or cerebral palsy. Deemed the “whisperer,” she can get any child to happily participate in therapy sessions despite his or her immediate reluctance. This trait is greatly appreciated by all, especially by parents who have no where else to turn due to their child’s being unsuccessfully treated in other settings. Rinehimer has also aided in screening children who may need physical therapy services at a local religious school.  For the past two years, she has sent students from Misericordia’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program to screen children in order to learn the process of identifying those who may do better with the assistance of physical therapy.

Through her involvement as an Assistant Professor at Misericordia University as well as her dedication to treating children at the MU Pro Bono Clinic, one can see that Rinehimer has great passion for working with the youth of Northeast Pennsylvania. We are grateful for the opportunity to show our appreciation for Maureen Rinehimer at this years annual meeting. Thank you Maureen for all that you do to help the children of Northeast Pennsylvania!

 

2019 Public Service Award: Governor Tom Wolf

This year’s Outstanding Public Service Award is being presented to the Honorable Governor Tom Wolf in recognition of his work advocating for the health of women, children and families throughout Pennsylvania during his time in office. Governor Wolf will receive this award at the MFHS 48th Annual Meeting & Community Luncheon.

Currently the 47th Governor of Pennsylvania,Wolf was born and raised in Mount Wolf Pennsylvania and had been a representative for the state long before his election as governor. He graduated with his B.A in government from Dartmouth College in 1972, received a Masters of Philosophy from the University of London in 1978, and then went on to earn his PH.D in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology thereafter. These degrees helped him to quickly advance the political ranks earning a position on the economic development board during the time of Governor Robert Casey, as well as a seat in the Pennsylvania Legislative Commission on Urban Schools. He also served as the Secretary of Revenue of Pennsylvania during the term of Governor Ed Rendell until 2008, eventually making his way to his first term as the governor of Pennsylvania  in 2015. Governor Wolf was then reelected for his second term in 2018 and has been bettering the state of Pennsylvania ever since.

Governor Wolf’s leadership in healthcare is evident in the steps he took to expand Medicaid to cover more Pennsylvanians, as well as in the creation of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, whose goal is to reduce the number of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania. Today, more than 720,000 Pennsylvanians have health insurance due to this Medicaid expansion. This reform also made it so that the rate of uninsured Pennsylvanians decreased from 10.2 percent to 6.4 percent in 2015 alone. In addition, his commitment to ending the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania by increasing access to life saving services and treatment is giving families hope for a healthy future. Another facet to his plan is to assure that those who distribute drugs within Pennsylvania communities are held more accountable for their actions.

Thank you Governor Wolf for all that you do to help the families of Pennsylvania, and congratulations!

 

 

 

48th Annual Meeting & Community Awards Luncheon

The MFHS 48th Annual Meeting of the Board of Directors and Community Awards Luncheon will take place on Wednesday, October 16th, 2019, 12 noon at The Westmoreland Club, Wilkes-Barre. Our agency will be presenting several awards, including the Public Service Award to the Honorable Governor Tom Wolf.

MFHS began its journey of service in April 1971, with a vision to improve the quality of family life, promote responsible parenthood and coordinate effective service delivery in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Today, our agency has grown to a regional organization serving over 90,000 individuals in 16 Pennsylvania counties. 

The Public Service Award is being presented to Governor Tom Wolf in recognition of his work advocating for the health of women, children and families throughout Pennsylvania during his time in office. Governor Wolf’s leadership in healthcare is evident in the steps he took to expand Medicaid to cover more Pennsylvanians, as well as in the creation of the Maternal Mortality Review Committee, whose goal is to reduce the number of maternal deaths in Pennsylvania. In addition, his commitment to ending the opioid crisis in Pennsylvania by increasing access to life saving services and treatment is giving families hope for a healthy future.

Several other awards will be presented during our 48th Annual Community Awards Luncheon:

·  Maureen Rinehimer: The Rose Allan Tucker Award

·  Lackawanna College: The Community Partner Award

·  Erin Keating: The Youth Partner Award

·  Ariana Velez: The Kathy A. Dickerson Memorial Scholarship

·  Kearstin Jordan: Lackawanna College Scholarship

The invitation can be downloaded via the following link on our websiteMFHS website. The luncheon reception is $25. RSVP by Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Program advertising opportunities are also available.

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.

eWIC is Coming Soon to MFHS!

The Pennsylvania Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program will be offering families a new way to shop for WIC food benefits using an Electronic Benefits Transfer (eWIC) card later this year. No more paper checks!

Maternal and Family Health Services WIC Nutrition Centers will transition to eWIC starting October 1, 2019, for families in Berks, Bradford, Carbon, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, and Wyoming counties.

In order to prepare for this transition, WIC Nutrition Centers in the above listed counties will be closed for staff training from September 23 through September 30, 2019. WIC will re-open for appointments on October 1, 2019.

With the eWIC card, shopping will be quick, easy and convenient for WIC families and their grocery stores. WIC participants will save time at the checkout and can buy WIC foods in as many shopping trips as they need throughout the month. Participants may also have access to a new WICShopper smart phone application, allowing them to see what is WIC allowable in Pennsylvania.

Appointments are available now at all locations throughout the MFHS WIC network. For more information about WIC, visit mfhs.org or call 1-800-367-6347.

 

WIC Nutrition Program Expands Income Guidelines

The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Program has expanded income guidelines allowing more families to participate in the free nutrition education program.

According to the new income guidelines for WIC, beginning on July 1, 2019, a family of four could earn $47,638 annually and qualify for WIC. For a family of three, the income limit is $39,461 to qualify, and a family of two can earn up to $31,284 and qualify for nutrition assistance.  A complete list of income guidelines is available here.

The WIC Nutrition Program is funded through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provides nutrition education and access to healthy foods for pregnant, postpartum and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and children under 5.  To qualify, participants must meet the income guidelines, have a nutritional or medical need, and live in Pennsylvania.  This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

WIC provides participants with supplemental healthy foods which contain vital nutrients essential for healthy development during critical growth periods, such as pregnancy, infancy and early childhood.

WIC is the nation’s premier public health and nutrition education program with an overall goal to influence lifetime nutrition through positive health behaviors.  In addition to vouchers for nutritious foods, WIC participants receive nutrition education, breastfeeding support, immunization record checks, iron deficiency screening, farmers’ market vouchers and referrals for other health and social services.

For more information or to apply for WIC, visit www.mfhs.org, or call 1-800-367-6347.

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 MFHS.org. 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.

 

Regards,

Bette Cox Saxton
President & CEO
Maternal and Family Health Services