National Breastfeeding Month

Thank you to Leading Lady for providing a donation of nursing bras, tanks and covers for the 3rd year in a row, in honor of National Breastfeeding Month. MomsFirst is grateful for the support (literally and figuratively!).

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MomsFirst participants who are currently nursing or expectant moms who plan to breastfeed can receive brand new, high quality items from their Community Health Workers. Thank you, Leading Lady!

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Climb Out of the Darkness Walk

On Sunday, June 23rd, MomsFirst Deputy Project Director, Megan Walsh and MomsFirst Certified Community Health Worker, Candence Pinkard participated in the Climb Out of the Darkness Walk at Lakewood Park. They were joined by Candence’s 3 year old, Kendell.

Candence, Kendell and Megan

Candence, Kendell and Megan

The Climb Out of the Darkness Walk is a national event, founded by Postpartum Support International. The purpose and mission is to raise awareness about mental health in new families. One out of seven new mothers experience a mental health complication related to pregnancy and/or childbirth. Black women are three times more likely to experience a complication and are less likely to receive support and treatment.

Last year, the Climb Out of the Darkness Walk in Cleveland raised over $7,000, which supported the local Postpartum Support International chapter with local programming for new families experiencing mental health complications. The goal for this year’s walk was $10,000.

It was great to see several partners of MomsFirst at the walk, including Coretta Daniel from 2BNurtured and Village Pix, and Da’Na Langford and Tenisha Gaines from University Hospitals’ CenteringPregnancy program.

After completing the walk, Candence said to her daughter, “we walked for the women we serve in the MomsFirst program, women in our families, our friends and ourselves”.

Candence and Kendell completed the Climb!

Candence and Kendell completed the Climb!

Black Maternal Health Caucus

In response to the alarming rate at which Black women are dying following childbirth, State Representatives Janine Boyd and Stephanie Howse created the Black Maternal Health Caucus for the state of Ohio. The announcement of this Caucus came during Black Maternal Health Week (April 11-April 17).

Currently, in Ohio, maternal mortality rates for Black women are 2-3 times greater compared to their white counterparts.

It is a priority of the Black Maternal Health Caucus to connect with the community that is most impacted by this health crisis. On May 31, 2019, a group of local experts convened to discuss the goals of the caucus and explore the possible legislative solutions to eliminating the racial disparity in maternal mortality.

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Two representatives from MomsFirst, Lauren Bottoms (Epidemiologist) and Megan Walsh (Deputy Project Director) were grateful to be included in the discussion.

More updates to come as the work continues!

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The Father's Feeling Study

MomsFirst Case Manager, Eira Yates, has made a significant contribution to the field of paternal postpartum depression. Together with her OhioGuidestone colleagues, the Yates Paternal Depression Screen was developed.

OhioGuidestone is conducting a study, The Father’s Feeling Study, to evaluate a newly created screening tool for paternal postpartum depression.  Fathers 18 years and older with a baby 0-12 months are invited to participate.  Study procedures include up to 2 home or community based appointments during which fathers will complete surveys and assessments related to their feelings around fatherhood and emotional state.  Participants will receive a $25.00 gift card, in addition to information on resources for fathers and families state-wide, and if needed- a referral for behavioral health support through local resources.

The Father’s Feelings Study will begin recruitment in January 2019.  Community organizations interested in partnering with this Study, as well as eligible participants, are encouraged to contact Brittany R. Pope at 440-260-8865 or

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MomsFirst & Health Literacy

October is Health Literacy Awareness Month and MomsFirst is helping with bringing attention to this very important issue that effects everyone. Through involvement with the Health Literacy committee of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative, MomsFirst has previously trained the committee on the health-literate intervention, Baby Basics, and has received training for staff on health literacy strategies.

In this TV 20 segment, first watch Jessica Jurcak and Karen Komondor discuss health literacy and the local efforts to raise awareness. Then, Tiffany Ashley, MomsFirst Case Manager at Merrick House on TV 20, is interviewed regarding the involvement with MomsFirst.

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Leah Haslage, TV20 Program Manager/News Director with Tiffany Ashley, MomsFirst Case Manager.

Leah with Jessica Jurcak, Program Coordinator of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative and Karen Komondor, Director of Organizational Development of the Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Leah with Jessica Jurcak, Program Coordinator of the Healthy Cleveland Initiative and Karen Komondor, Director of Organizational Development of the Health Literacy Institute at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.

Planners: Me & My Big Ideas

Have you ever been THAT planner girl who lives and breathes all things Happy Planner? Have you ever been THAT planner girl who truly believes that planning will “lit-er-al-ly change your life!”? Have you ever been THAT planner girl who tries so desperately to get a friend or family member to start planning with you? Well, if you answered YES to all of the above just know you are not alone. The MomsFirst Adolescent Component is “planning” with their participants in the form of their 2nd annual Movie and a Plan event. This planning session was led by Ms. Valarie who is the mother to Ms. ShenettaMarie, MomsFirst Community Health Worker at the May Dugan Center.


The Happy Planner is an expandable creative planner system that combines the love of creativity with the need for organization, and lets you add even more personalization to your planner. The MomsFirst Adolescent Component wanted to do this event to help get the participants on track with their medical visit, the baby’s immunization appointment as well as school assignments.


The event was well attended and everyone enjoyed themselves!