NJAAP Secures $4 Million HRSA Cooperative Deal to Launch NJ SEEDlings: Supporting Equity in Early Development

New Jersey is one of four states to have received such funding through HRSA’s Transforming Pediatrics in Early Childhood (TPEC) initiative.

EAST WINDSOR, NEW JERSEY, USA, Sept. 26, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ — The New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (NJAAP) has secured a four-year cooperative agreement from the Health Resources and Services Administration ( HRSA) transform the way pediatric primary care is delivered to prenatal-to-five (P-5) populations eligible for NJ FamilyCare or who are uninsured. This initiative will bring together a diverse group of pediatric and obstetric medical experts, parent advocates, and HealthySteps (HS) practice leaders to improve early developmental and social-emotional health, school readiness, family well-being and health equity. New Jersey is one of four states selected to receive such funding from the HRSA, with an additional award given to Zero to Three to support the creation of the Early Childhood Developmental Health Systems Evidence to Impact National Center to support the efforts of the ‘State.

“HRSA’s investment in transforming pediatric primary care is a groundbreaking commitment by the federal government to better support our country’s babies and toddlers,” said HealthySteps National Director Rahil Briggs, PsyD. “New Jersey joined the HealthySteps Network in 2021 as part of a grassroots effort to build support for families through a HealthySteps pilot initiative in partnership with Hackensack Meridian Health, Burke Foundation, Nicholson Foundation, and Turrell Fund . NJAAP’s TPEC award takes this work to the next level. The National Office of HealthySteps is proud to partner with the NJAAP to transform the way NJ families experience healthcare and help them thrive.

In 2020, NJ was home to 513,951 infants and toddlers ages five and under, 29.9% of whom live in households with incomes below twice the Federal Poverty Level (FPL); 12% of NJ families live below the FPL. A disproportionately high number of infants and toddlers of color live in poverty in New Jersey. There are also stark disparities in maternal and child health outcomes among racial and ethnic minority groups in New Jersey, with the infant mortality rate for black babies being 3 times higher than for white babies. Given the significant difference seen in prenatal and birth data for low-income women enrolled in NJ FamilyCare in NJ compared to those with other insurance, TPEC funding from HRSA in New Jersey provides support essential in vulnerable communities where it is needed most.

“NJAAP’s TPEC award will increase the number of young children and families who have access to HealthySteps in two New Jersey communities where there are significant health disparities,” said Pamela Winkler Tew, LSW, Principal Analyst of Policies and Responsible for HealthySteps New Jersey. “This is a critical next step in our goal to ensure that all babies and toddlers in New Jersey have access to evidence-based supports like HealthySteps, to ensure a healthy start in life.”

Funding of $1 million for the first year will catalyze the growth of HS in New Jersey. Over the four-year project period, NJSEEDlings will build critical infrastructure to advance early developmental health and family-building efforts in the state by funding the launch of eight additional HS sites, connecting all sites New and existing HS based in New Jersey to each other. , and providing comprehensive ECD training at all HS sites in the state. Through these efforts, NJSEEDlings will improve equitable access to a continuum of ECD services in patient-centered pediatric medical homes and build the capacity of pediatric practices to provide high-quality ECD services that meet the holistic needs of children. and families.

“This cooperative agreement provides an exciting opportunity to build on NJAAP’s work to address disparities by supporting families through the critical prenatal to 5-year period that paves the way for long-term results,” noted Usha. Ramachandran, MD, FAAP, NJAAP’s Early Childhood Champion. “By partnering with parents and key stakeholders and adopting a collaborative learning approach, we hope to bring about a transformation of pediatric primary care that emphasizes a family-centered, strengths-based approach to support family well-being and infant-caregiver relationships. and promote early childhood development. By integrating evidence-based programs such as Reach Out and Read and the Keystones of Development program, we will equip pediatric practices to adopt universal promotion and prevention efforts with all families, as well as additional evidence-based supports. family needs and risks with HealthySteps.

To spread best practices and share support, advice and feedback between sites, NJSEEDlings will also use Project ECHO® model. Monthly sessions provide pediatric practice teams with opportunities for case-based learning and quality improvement to achieve established ECD goals. Additionally, this funding will support the launch of a broader learning community to raise awareness of ECD supports available to practices and families and create a network of connections among NJ early childhood partners.

The relationship health framework incorporated into this initiative builds on the findings of the 2021 AAP Policy Statement on Preventing Toxic Stress in Children, which emphasizes the importance of positive relationships and experiences. during childhood to prevent and cure the effects of toxic stress. “By focusing on safe, stable, and nurturing (SSNR) relationships that cushion adversity and build resilience, pediatric care is on the cusp of a paradigm shift that could reprioritize clinical activities, rewrite research programs and realign our collective advocacy. Advances in developmental science are driving this transformation, providing insights into how early life experiences, both nurturing and adverse, are biologically embedded and influence health outcomes, education and economic stability throughout life,” notes the policy statement of the AAP Committee on Psychosocial Aspects of Child and Family Health, Section of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics and the Early Childhood Council. “The American Academy of Pediatrics states that SSNRs are biological necessities for all children because they blunt toxic childhood stress responses and proactively build resilience by promoting coping skills needed to cope. to future adversity in a healthy way.”

About the NJAAP
New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of children in the State of New Jersey. The growing chapter represents more than 1,900 pediatricians and other pediatric health care professionals located in every county in New Jersey. NJAAP provides a strong voice on behalf of children, the adults in their lives, and the pediatricians who care for them.

Felicia K. Taylor, MBA, CAE
New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics
+1 609-842-0014
write to us here

Virginia S. Braud