RHD’s Family Practice & Counseling Network among Philadelphia providers awarded Merck for Mothers grant

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City and partners announce million-dollar grant combating maternal mortality

RHD’s Family Practice & Counseling Network’s efforts to combat maternal mortality in Philadelphia will get a boost from the “Merck for Mothers” grant. Philadelphia is one of nine cities slated to receive funding as part of Merck’s initiative to support local organizations working to make their cities safer and better places to give birth, and FPCN is one of the Philadelphia providers awarded the Merck grant.

Merck for Mothers is Merck’s 10-year, $500 million initiative focused on improving the health and well-being of mothers before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth.

“This project is an important step in addressing the maternal and child health crisis in Philadelphia,” FPCN Director Emily Nichols said. “FPCN is embarking on an important initiative that will revolutionize childbirth and maternal healthcare by opening Philadelphia’s only family health and birth center in 2020. This center will be a comprehensive health center with primary care, oral health and a birth center, focusing on the abysmal maternal and infant health outcomes in Philadelphia while providing significant cost savings and improving outcomes for disadvantaged and vulnerable women and families who suffer the most from poor outcomes.”

FPCN is a program of Resources for Human Development, one of Philadelphia’s largest human service nonprofits. RHD founded FPCN in 1992, and today FPCN is the largest nurse-led health care network in the country, serving more than 22,000 patients each year.

Philadelphia has among the worst maternal outcomes of any big city in the U.S., with 27 deaths for every 100,000 live births. Among FPCN’s many efforts to combat maternal mortality in Philadelphia is the Philadelphia Family Health and Birth Center, set to open next year. It will be the only birth center in the city.

FPCN and dedicated health care partners such as faculty from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Hahnemann University Hospital and Drexel Obstetrics and Gynecology are committed to creating Philadelphia’s only birth center. The Philadelphia Family Health and Birth Center will provide birth center services along with primary care for the entire family. Those efforts get a significant boost from the Merck for Mothers grant.

The City and an array of partner organizations will use these funds to strengthen surveillance and reporting; improve clinical care, integrate community voices in developing solutions, address racial disparities in maternal health outcomes, and increase community-based support for childbearing women through development of a Community Action Team, according to the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.