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.


  • 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


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


7 “special projects” added


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


National Healthy Start Association established


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


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


Authorization achieved as part of the Children’s Health Act


NHSA holds 1st annual conference


9 new grantees added


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


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


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


97 projects, including one new grantee, received new funding


NHSA holds 6 additional regional conferences


2 Border Health projects added


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


Healthy Start reauthorized for five years


3 Eliminating Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Perinatal Health grantees added


Healthy Start grows to 104 projects


Healthy Start grows to 104 projects


Healthy Start funded for 100 grantees


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


New funding provided for 101 projects


NHSA holds 20th annual conference


Healthy Start is reauthorized

Join NHSA for our two monthly webinars: the Women’s Health Series or Grand Rounds on the first Thursday of each month and Fatherood on the third Thursday of the month.