MFHS to Launch New Women’s Service Program

Jean Holmgren
MFHS to Launch New Women’s Service Program Featured Image

Wilkes-Barre, PA – Maternal and Family Health Services (MFHS) has received $2,215,639 in funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services to launch a new Women’s Service Program in 11 counties of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  The Women’s Service Program is designed to increase access to women’s health care, particularly for pregnant and parenting women.

“There is an increasing need for access to health care and support services for women, especially during pregnancy and during the postpartum period.  We’ve seen the need for these kind of services for years, and it continues to grow,” said Maria Montoro Edwards, PhD, MFHS President and CEO. “This funding will have a tremendous impact on women and families in need. MFHS is focused on ensuring women have the tools they need to manage their own health, and providing the resources and support needed to raise healthy, happy children.”

The new program will support women through new initiatives and by expanding current programing. This includes expanding access to and awareness of STI testing and treatment and reproductive health education.

MFHS is uniquely suited to deliver this new program due to the organization’s long standing commitment to serving women, children, and families with programs that are proven to have a positive impact on maternal and child health outcomes, including: the Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition program (WIC), reproductive health care, maternity care, the Nurse-Family Partnership program, breastfeeding support, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and more.

“Expanding to include more patient navigation support, telehealth, and use of technology solutions will lower the barriers to accessing care,” said Montoro Edwards, “Additionally, the program is focused on creating patient-centered, culturally relevant, compassionate care. We want our community to feel welcome coming to us for care no matter what their need may be.”

MFHS will also expand the availability of menstrual health products and education across their service area. Providing these products was started as a pilot program in 2023 in Hazleton with the support of a Leadership Northeast project group.

Other initiatives of the Women’s Service Program at MFHS will include: a prenatal care and postpartum education program; early detection and prevention of health conditions; educational materials and public awareness campaigns; and referrals for assistance with other physical or behavioral health care needs.

In addition to the new program administered by MFHS, similar programs will run across Pennsylvania. Though the individual programs are different, they will all focus on women’s health, particularly in pregnancy and early parenting.

“All women deserve comprehensive, empathetic care and counsel — especially when they are pregnant or adjusting to the change of being a parent and caring for a new child,” said Dr. Val Arkoosh, state Department of Human Services secretary, in a news release announcing the program. “The Women’s Service Program will support and empower women, promoting good health for themselves and their families by expanding access to educational supports.”

The programs statewide are expected to begin later this month.

About Maternal Family Health Services: Maternal and Family Health Services is a non-profit health and human service organization working to improve the health of Pennsylvania women and children by offering programs that prevent disease, promote wellness, and empower individuals to make healthy choices. The agency oversees a network of health and nutrition centers in 17 Pennsylvania counties serving over 90,000 individuals each year through the following core programs: WIC Nutrition Program, Family Planning Program, Nurse-Family Partnership, the SafeTeens Initiative, breast and cervical cancer screenings, and the Healthy Beginnings Plus Prenatal Program.  For more information, call 1-800-367-6347, or visit