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Alcoa Foundation Awards Simi Valley Hospital $30,000 to Launch New Program for Infants

Representatives of SVH and the Alcoa Foundation gather for a photo following the check presentation. Front row: Leigh Nixon, Kevin Casey, Dr. Jonathan Kurohara, Karen Harlan. Back row: Carol Roullard, Terry Hansen, Debbie Thomas, James Vigdor, Andrea Pinhey, Larry Pugh and Bill Davis.

A $30,000 grant to Simi Valley Hospital from the Alcoa Foundation will launch a new program aimed at helping newborns and their mothers get a healthy start together.

Administered by the hospital’s Child Development Center (CDC) staff, the Newborn Home Visitation Initiative, which is slated to begin early in 2006, will help address the education gap brought about by foreshortened hospital stays in today’s managed care environment.

“This program is based on a new concept that recognizes that all new moms probably need some mentoring and coaching,” said Simi Valley Hospital CDC Director Robin Millar.

In its initial phase, Millar said, the program will focus on infants born into circumstances that are considered high risk, including children of first-time mothers and mothers under age 26, families under the poverty line and newborns who are admitted to the ICU.

Under the program, a nurse will visit the home within a week of the baby’s discharge from the hospital to answer questions about breastfeeding, head control, diaper changing and so forth. Soon after, a child development specialist will also pay a visit to the new mom to answer questions and provide advice.

“At times, it will be about validation and confirmation of what the mother is doing well,” Millar said. “The focus will be on the baby and mother having a secure attachment — on the mother being able to recognize that the baby is signaling her and then responding in a timely manner. It is important that an infant learns to trust that a caring adult will meet their needs in a consistent and timely manner.”

The child development specialist will return in four months and in nine months for follow-up visits. In between, the nurse and child development specialist will conduct four telephone consultations with the new mom to monitor progress, give encouragement, connect her with community resources and continue to answer her questions.

Millar said that the hospital is exploring the possibility of soliciting matching funds to eventually expand the program to include families of all babies born at Simi Valley Hospital.

The Alcoa Foundation is associated with the parent company of Simi Valley’s Alcoa Fastening Systems.

Posted 10/12/05