New Haven Healthy Start Receives New 5 year, $5.4 Million Federal Grant

Funding will help Continue to Address Infant Mortality with Focus on Social Determinants of Health and Promotion of Health Equity for New Haven Families

The Honorable Rosa DeLauro (2nd from right) is joined by Christina Ciociola, Kenn Harris and Will Ginsberg of The Community Foundation in announcing a new round of federal funding - $5.4 Million for 5 years - for the New Haven Healthy Start program.

Funding to Continue to Address Infant Mortality with Focus on Social Determinants of Health and Promotion of Health Equity for New Haven Families

  • Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Infant Mortality Continue Especially For Black Mothers
  • Significant Disparities Exist in IMR and Health Status in High distress, Low Income Neighborhoods
  • New Focus on Maternal Mortality
  • Greater Emphasis Will Be Place on Social Determinants of Health, such as Housing, Education, Racism, Domestic Violence, Unemployment

New Haven, Conn. (April 1, 2019) –The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven has been awarded $5.4 Million for a 5 year period (2019-2024) from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to continue its New Haven Healthy Start Program, which serves vulnerable young women, infants and fathers in New Haven. New Haven Healthy Start was among 100 programs across the nation to successfully compete for approximately $100 million in total federal aid to reduce high infant mortality rates and improve maternal care in high risk communities. Grant funds will continue to support care coordination model of service and community health workers and patient navigators as well as a central office staff housed at The Community Foundation.

"For three decades, meeting our community's maternal and child health challenges has been a Community Foundation priority. Our partnerships have been strong with the city of New Haven's Health Department maternal and child health division, local hospitals and both federally qualified health centers in the area. Through these and other partnerships we have been able to successfully navigate families through the fragmented health care system. With this new grant we can continue to address the underlying causes of infant mortality, including racial and ethnic health disparities, in a comprehensive and systematic way," said William W. Ginsberg, president & CEO of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.

"The continued funding from the Healthy Start grant program is critical to continuing to address infant mortality issues in the New Haven community," says Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT 3rd District)." New Haven Healthy Start's comprehensive approach to maternal and child healthcare is essential to helping to eliminate the causes of disparities in maternal and newborn health. I am so proud of the Community Foundation's commitment to this cause. I know they will do a terrific job in implementing this funding and ensuring that all of our children receive the care they need to thrive."

"We've made improvements in infant mortality but the disparities remain in New Haven, which mirrors the nation. Clearly, the work of NHHS remains unfinished and requires more emphasis on social determinants of health and health equity, particularly in high-distress, low-income neighborhoods in which a high percentage of Black residents live," said Kenn Harris, director of New Haven Healthy Start, a program of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven and vice president of community engagement at The Foundation. "Accordingly, NHHS will continue to emphasize outreach to Black women and prioritize work with fathers and ground the work more firmly in efforts that address social determinants of health. We're calling the work we will be doing through 2024 thanks to this 5th round of funding New Haven Healthy Start 5.0."

According to DataHaven's Greater New Haven Community Wellbeing Index (2016), the prevalence of chronic disease among New Haven residents is significantly higher than among Connecticut residents: 36.1% vs. 30.4% have hypertension, 6.3% vs. 3.8% heart disease, 13% vs. 9.3% diabetes, and 35.3% vs. 25.3% obesity. Illustrating racial/ethnic disparities in low-income neighborhoods, 75% of Black or Hispanic residents are overweight/obese, compared to 50% of White residents. Diabetes follows a similar pattern: 11% among Black, 16% Hispanic, 8% White. In these same neighborhoods, among residents living in extreme poverty, 30% have asthma, 15% diabetes, and 7% heart disease, which exceed rates of higher earners (>$15,000/year).

New Haven Healthy Start is an initiative created over 22 years ago to address New Haven's unacceptably high infant mortality rate (IMR). Over the past two decades, NHHS has worked to reduce infant mortality by implementing an effective care coordination model of services, and strengthening delivery of coordinated health services to New Haven residents. New Haven's infant mortality rate now stands at 7.3 (2013 to 2015) across all races per 1000 live births as compared to more than 20 when New Haven Healthy Start began, while NHHS program participants experience an infant mortality rate of 4.3. However, significant disparities continue to exist in infant mortality and health status between racial or ethnic minority groups and within geographic areas of the community. New Haven Healthy Start 5.0 will address these disparities.

New Haven Healthy Start has historically achieved its work through a large network of State-wide and local partners, including: Connecticut's Department of Public Health, The New Haven Health Department, Yale-New Haven Hospital, Yale-New Haven Hospital-St. Raphael's Campus, Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, Fair Haven Community Health Center, New Haven Family Alliance (Male Involvement Network), and Community Action Agency of New Haven. In the new grant, NHHS welcomes Project Access- New Haven as a new Core Services partner. NHHS 5.0 will offer an enhanced program design that strengthens the existing service system.

"At Project access we're very pleased and excited to be part of the NHHS program in the Greater New Haven community. We believe this aligns well with our mission of increasing access to care and services for underserved residents," says Darcey Cobbs-Lomax, executive director of Project Access of New Haven.

Over the next five years, New Haven Healthy Start will use its new grant funds to continue program elements that have proven effective and to introduce new program elements. Important features of the design moving forward that will respond more directly to social determinants of health and promote community engagement include: a) Community Health Workers in direct service delivery; b) Community Mental Health Ambassadors; c) a health promotion partnership with the Racial Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) project funded by the CDC; d) ongoing promotion of systems change through the NHHS Consortium and The Men's Consortium; and e) an ongoing commitment to measuring progress and promoting community dialogue on issues such as health equity, inclusive growth, and addressing racism, among others.

About New Haven Healthy Start
New Haven Healthy Start was an outgrowth of the work of the Commission on Child and Infant Health, which was convened by The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven in 1985. The Commission was formed to address the high infant mortality and morbidity rates in New Haven and was a collaboration between health officials, community leaders and child care advocates. Its work provided the base for The Community Foundation's application for federal funding for a Healthy Start program in New Haven. The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven received its first federal Healthy Start grant in 1997 to begin addressing New Haven's high infant mortality rates and continued to receive subsequent grants totaling $22.3 million over the past 22 years to enable it to serve nearly 16,000 participants and more than 8,000 infants. For more information visit

About The Community Foundation
Thanks to the generosity of three generations of donors, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven gave out $34.6 Million in grants and distributions in 2018. The endowment, valued at approximately $570 million at year-end, is composed of hundreds of individually-named funds. In addition to its grantmaking, The Community Foundation helps build a stronger community by leading on issues and supporting donors and nonprofits in creating a community of opportunity for all. The Foundation's 20-town service area includes: Ansonia, Bethany, Branford, Cheshire, Derby, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Madison, Milford, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Oxford, Seymour, Shelton, Wallingford, West Haven, Woodbridge. For more information about The Community Foundation, visit, find us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at

Tricia Caldwell
Director of Communications