/Health District Nurse Family Partnership Program Graduates Its First Class

Health District Nurse Family Partnership Program Graduates Its First Class

August 9, 2011

LAS VEGAS – The Southern Nevada Health District will recognize the first graduates of the Nurse-Family Partnership program in a ceremony today at 1 p.m. in the Auditorium of the Ravenholt Public Health Center located at 625 Shadow Lane. The Nurse-Family Partnership is an evidence-based community health initiative that assists women who are pregnant with their first child. Thirty-one first-time mothers are graduating from the program.

During the first two years 97 percent of the 147 babies born through June 30 were delivered at a healthy birth weight and 94 percent of participating mothers initiated breastfeeding. Currently, there are 96 families enrolled in the Nurse-Family Partnership program. The health district’s program pairs first-time expectant mothers with community health nurses as they work together throughout the pregnancy until the baby’s second birthday.

The program allows specially trained nurses to deliver the support vulnerable mothers need to have a healthy pregnancy, become knowledgeable and responsible parents, and provide their babies with the best possible start in life. The relationship between mother and nurse provides the foundation for strong families, and lives are forever changed – for the better.

Clients in the program range in age from 13 to 35 years old and are women who are at risk of giving birth prematurely or delivering lower birth weight babies as a result of a lack of prenatal care. Prenatal care is of vital importance to ensure babies are born healthy and later become healthy children and adults. Independent studies by the RAND Corporation and the Brookings Foundation have found that young women who participate in Nurse-Family Partnership program are more likely to graduate from high school and have lower enrollment in social assistance programs. The program is an investment in the future and it is estimated that for every dollar spent the program can yield as much as a five dollar return in savings.

Locally, most women are referred to the program after a visit to a Southern Nevada Health District public health center where they seek pregnancy testing. In addition, health care providers also refer patients to the program. The Southern Nevada health District’s program began with its focus on North Las Vegas, an area with a larger percentage of young, single, low-income women who have limited or no access to prenatal care.

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The Southern Nevada Health District serves as the local public health authority for Clark County, Boulder City, Henderson, Las Vegas, Mesquite and North Las Vegas. The agency safeguards the public health of the community’s residents and visitors through innovative programs, regulations, and initiatives focused on protecting and promoting their health and well-being. More information about the Health District, its programs, services, and the regulatory oversight it provides is available at www.SNHD.info.