New York, NY, Nov. 06, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Two new grants totaling $800,000 from the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation (RAHF) will support innovative programs for underserved pregnant women, parents, and children, continuing the foundation’s commitment to accelerating the development and dissemination of nursing-driven models of care for vulnerable populations.

Hillman’s flagship grant program will help mothers and babies thrive
Hillman Innovations in Care (HIC) grant will support expansion of the Women-Inspired Neighborhood (WIN) Network: Detroit, in a region where as many as one in three women do not have access to adequate prenatal care. The results of this disparity include pre-term and low-birthweight babies, longer hospitals stays, and greater risk of developmental disabilities, neurological disorders, and behavioral problems.

Through a bold approach that integrates an evidence-based group prenatal care program led by certified nurse midwives (CNMs) with community health workers as key system change agents addressing social determinants, this model – supported by Henry Ford Health System – demonstrates strong potential to reduce pre-term and low birth weight deliveries in vulnerable populations. The program seeks a triple bottom line: “Healthy Moms, Thriving Babies, and Nursing Innovation.” Better birth outcomes, greater social impact through improved life course trajectory for vulnerable African-American women, and strengthened administrative and academic acumen of CNMs to yield sustainability and long-term replication of innovative models are promising benefits.

Co-Principal Investigators are Cathy Collins-Fulea, MSN, CNM, FACNM, Division Head of Midwifery for the Henry Ford Health System, and Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, MS, Senior Vice President of Community Health and Equity for the Henry Ford Health System.

“Supporting innovations that remove barriers and promote more equitable, high-quality, and person-centered care is at the heart of all our grantmaking,” said Ahrin Mishan, Executive Director of the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “Helping nurses to design, deliver, and disseminate their innovative programs is central to our mission and vital to the health of the nation.”

The Hillman Innovations in Care grant totals $600,000 over three years. Launched in 2014, the program is one of the Foundation’s defining initiatives and supports bold, evidence-based interventions that improve the health and health care of vulnerable populations, including the economically disadvantaged, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBQT, the homeless, rural populations, and other groups.

In past years, two HIC awards have been made; this year, while there were many strong applications, only one matched all the grant criteria. A list of previous HIC grantees is available here.

Scaling an evidence-based program for low-income parents
The second grant, from the Hillman Innovation Dissemination Program, is to the Chicago Parent Program. Developed in 2002 by three nurses, the Chicago Parent Program (CPP) is a group-based parenting program that strengthens parenting skills and capacities and improves young children’s behavioral health and wellbeing.

CPP, recognized by the American Academy of Nursing as an Edge Runner initiative, is the only evidence-based program designed with and for parents raising young children in low-income communities, particularly families of color. To date, CPP has been implemented in public schools, Head Start centers, childcare centers, and child mental health clinics.

The two-year award of $200,000 will be used to help CPP develop the necessary structural elements to support widescale dissemination, implementation, and sustainability of the program. Specific work includes the development of 1) a CPP Toolkit for assessing organizational readiness to implement CPP; 2) a webinar series addressing common challenges for CPP group leaders that will alleviate the burden of in-person training sessions; and 3) a strategy for scaling CPP that capitalizes on opportunities for sustainable funding streams including Medicaid billing pathways.

The program, which began in Chicago, is led by Principal Investigator Deborah Gross, DNSc, RN, FAAN, now at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing

The Hillman Innovation Dissemination Program supports scaling efforts for established nursing-driven models of care with proven outcomes. "Supporting innovation through different stages of development – from pre-evidence to national scaling efforts – is a defining quality of our grantmaking strategy,” said Rachael Watman, Vice President of Programs at the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation. “We approach the work with a sense of urgency and the belief that nursing-driven innovation can be an important source of better care for the people who need it most.”

Awards for 2018 in the Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation’s third program, the Hillman Emergent Innovation Program, which provides funding for early-stage prototype and pre-evidence work, were announced on September 11, 2018 and can be viewed here.

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The Rita & Alex Hillman Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of patients and their families through nursing-driven innovation. To this end, the foundation cultivates nurse leaders, supports nursing research, and disseminates new models of care that are critical to making the U.S. healthcare system more patient-centered, accessible, equitable, and affordable. The foundation’s goal is to leverage the power of nursing’s unique knowledge to ensure that the healthcare system can deliver the high-quality care patients need and deserve. For more information, please visit


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