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Onondaga County to use nearly $5M federal grant for the Syracuse Healthy Start program

By Eric Reinhardt

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Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, says Onondaga County will use a federal award of nearly $5 million to continue the Syracuse Healthy Start program, which started in 1997. In this photo from early January, Gupta is addressing a gathering at the new Women, Infant, and Children’s (WIC) office and clinic in the former Nojaim Brothers supermarket site at 307 Gifford St. in Syracuse. (Eric Reinhardt / BJNN)

SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Onondaga County will use a federal award of nearly $5 million over five years to continue the Syracuse Healthy Start program.

The $4.75 million in funding is under a program called “Healthy Start Initiative: Eliminating disparities in perinatal health,” the office of Onondaga County Executive J. Ryan McMahon II said in a Wednesday news release.

The Maternal and Child Health Bureau, which is part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), awarded the funding. The Rockville, Maryland–based HRSA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, per the HRSA website.

“This funding provides an opportunity for the continuation of our Syracuse Healthy Start program, which began in 1997,” Dr. Indu Gupta, Onondaga County Health Commissioner, said. “We have seen improvement in health outcomes, but more needs to be done … through continued collaboration with our community partners and supporting strong family engagement to achieve the best possible health outcomes for moms, babies, dads, and families in our community.”

About the program

The Syracuse Healthy Start program seeks to “reduce disparities” in infant mortality and perinatal-health outcomes in the city of Syracuse, per the Onondaga County release.

The program will serve new families from pregnancy through a child’s first 18 months. It involves a “community-based approach” to health equity and an “emphasis on empowering” parents to meet their own personal goals, connect with community resources, and “achieve optimal” health for themselves and their children.

Syracuse Healthy Start provides services that include outreach and case management by home visiting public-health nurses, social workers, and community health workers; nutrition and child-birth education; doula services; adolescent-pregnancy prevention; breastfeeding support; parenting skill building and support to fathers; linking to health care during and after pregnancy, the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, and other services; job training; and referral to housing assistance.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com