Low Birth Weight Focus For Appalachian Care Group

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An Athens group focusing on low birth weight will use a $350,000 grant to improve maternal and child health care in southeastern Ohio.

Integrating Professionals for Appalachian Children (I-PAC) received the funds from Governor John Kasich and the Office of Health Transformation.
I-PAC president Jane Hamel-Lambert says the group's aim is to improve birth outcomes in the Appalachian region.
Hamel-Lambert says the program will start in early summer, allowing for a full year to design and improve services.
She says taking a holistic approach to women's health is important.
"There's evidence that says if we pay attention to all the needs women have not just their physical health needs, their behavioral health needs, and their social services needs, that outcomes are better for pregnant women themselves and their babies," said Hamel-Lambert.
Partners for Kids, a care organization at Nationwide Children's Hospital, and the Community Health Access Project in Richland County, will offer I-PAC guidance in starting the program.
Hamel-Lambert says I-PAC will collaborate with other agencies to provide the care.
"So we're going to use the funds to subcontract with existing agencies and their staff to deliver what are called care coordination services to expectant moms and then those agencies will report data centrally back to I-PAC and then we'll be able to evaluate the program," said Hamel-Lambert.
Similar programs have been implemented in Toledo and Cincinnati.