What We Do

How NHSA Supports the Federal Healthy Start Initiative

NHSA provides educational opportunities and support including…

  • Our Annual Conference with some of the nation’s most prominent experts in our topic areas as presenters.
  • Webinars throughout the year on current trends and topics for which the project directors have asked for more information.
  • Monthly Fatherhood Webinars for the fatherhood practitioners to learn how they can best serve the dads in the program and support their health and well-being.
  • An annual Fatherhood Summit to address fatherhood issues and provide the opportunity to learn from one another.
  • Publications, such as our monthly newsletter, Getting off to a Healthy Start, which contains research news, resources and activities shared by the Healthy Start projects.

NHSA’s Activities…

  • … promote maternal and child health (MCH) programs, particularly those addressing the issues of maternal and infant mortality, low birth weight and racial disparities in perinatal outcomes.
  • …ensure that all families have access to a continuum of affordable quality health care and related services. This range of care extends beyond the welfare of newborns and includes mothers, fathers and families, thus affecting the entire community.

Highlights of NHSA’s Accomplishments Over 20+ Years

NHSA’s Annual Conferences and the 2004 and 2006 Regional Conferences

  • 20 annual conferences with attendance ranging from 450-600, including upwards of 60 consumers and the project officers from the DHSPS.
  • 12 regional conferences were the first of the kind for Healthy Start. An important outcome were the topic areas most requested by the attendees for NHSA’s Healthy Start Leadership Training Institute (HSLTI), which was established and implemented with two convenings a year from 2007-2014.

Publications

  • The Healthy Start Guide to…series of five toolkits on topics such as community engagement and strategies for success.
  • Saving Our Nation’s Babies: The Impact of the Federal Healthy Start Initiative.
  • Interconception Care web-based toolkit with six modules that cover topics such as nutrition, family planning and weight before, during and after pregnancy.
  • Maternal Depression and Toxic Stress web-based toolkit with three modules on stress and depression and their impact on healthy birth outcomes.
  • Getting off to a Healthy Start, a monthly newsletter distributed electronically to over 2,500 individuals.

Our History at a Glance

1991

Federal-funded Healthy Start initiative began as a demonstration program with 15 programs; extended by one year

1994

7 “special projects” added

1997

Replication Phase began with the addition of 55 projects; 75 projects in total

1998

National Healthy Start Association established

1999

19 projects added; focus on Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Perinatal Health

2000

3 projects added and began with a one-year Infrastructure/Capacity-Building Phase

2000

Authorization achieved as part of the Children’s Health Act

2000

NHSA holds 1st annual conference

2001

9 new grantees added

2002

12 existing projects that were designated as “approved, but not funded” received new funding

2003

NHSA received first of two special Congressional awards to collect and disseminate information on best practices and provide technical assistance to the projects

2004

NHSA holds 6 regional conferences; 2nd special Congressional award received

2005

97 projects, including one new grantee, received new funding

2006

NHSA holds 6 additional regional conferences

2007

2 Border Health projects added

2007

NHSA inaugurates the Healthy Start Leadership Training Institute; held through 2014

2008

Healthy Start reauthorized for five years

2009

3 Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Perinatal Health grantees added

2010

Healthy Start grows to 104 projects

2010

Healthy Start grows to 104 projects

2014

Healthy Start funded for 100 grantees

2016

NHSA holds reception with Dr. Louis Sullivan, Former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, to celebrate Health Start’s 25th anniversary

2019

New funding provided for 101 projects

2019

NHSA holds 20th annual conference

2020

Healthy Start is reauthorized

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a specific Health Advisory recommending urgent action to increase COVID-19 vaccination for pregnant and breastfeeding people. Check out CDC’s updated guidance on COVID-19 Vaccines While Pregnant or Breastfeeding.

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