First Year Cleveland awarded $4.8 million Medicaid grant

"First Year Cleveland" logo on a navy blue background

First Year Cleveland (FYC) announced it has been awarded a $4.8 million grant from the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to distribute to local partner organizations working to improve Black maternal and infant health outcomes in Cuyahoga County. 

“The support we have received from the state will be critical to ensuring all babies can celebrate their first birthday in Cuyahoga County,” said India Pierce Lee, FYC's director of organizational transition. “We appreciate ODM for entrusting First Year Cleveland and our community partners to use these funds to improve Black maternal and infant health outcomes in the region.”

The grant funds, which will be spent between now and the end of FY24, will be used to pursue a range of objectives in Cuyahoga County. These include providing home visiting and doula services for Black women and families, connecting Black women to programs to address the social and economic drivers of health, and offering support resources to families to help address the unique challenges they face while navigating health care and social services.

First Year Cleveland will allocate the funds among the following community partners:

  • Birthing Beautiful Communities for perinatal support doula program;
  • The Centers for Families and Children for home visiting and doula services;
  • Cleveland Department of Public Health for the MomsFirst Program;
  • The MetroHealth System for the Nurse-Family Partnership Program; 
  • Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Services, Inc. for the Moms & Babies First Program;
  • Pregnant with Possibilities Resource Center for program expansion and capacity-building; 
  • Project Milk Mission for lactation education and programming; 
  • Village of Healing for program expansion and capacity-building; and
  • University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center for a community health workers program.

Learn more from FYC executive committee members India Pierce Lee and June Taylor in this Cleveland Channel 19 news segment highlighting the $4.8 million Ohio Medicaid grant.

Move to the Mandel School

FYC transitioned to the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in July 2022. FYC was previously a part of CWRU’s School of Medicine, and the move to the Mandel School will allow the organization to shift into a more community-centric approach. This approach will center on the social determinants of health and addressing structural racism.

While FYC’s work alongside community partners is critical to reducing infant mortality, there is additional heavy lifting required to address the toxic stress and realities for women at high risk of experiencing negative birth outcomes. One of FYC’s primary responsibilities is to advocate for policy and system changes that improve the conditions that harm women and families and put them at risk for experiencing infant loss. FYC will soon reconvene its policy and advocacy committee to identify priorities and develop partnerships to drive broad-scale change.

Learn more about the transition to the Mandel School.

About First Year Cleveland

First Year Cleveland's vision is that every baby born in Cuyahoga County will celebrate their first birthday. FYC fulfills its mission and vision by creating a common understanding of our county’s infant mortality problem and leading the development and coordination of strategies to address it.  

FYC is a public-private partnership aimed at reducing infant mortality, eliminating racial inequities in infant health outcomes by combating systemic racism in Cuyahoga County and the City of Cleveland. 

The partnership is rooted in a commitment to racial equity; recognizes the challenges that result from systemic racism; and views racism as a public health crisis. FYC is an affiliate of Case Western Reserve University’s Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. The Mandel School advances leadership in social work and nonprofit education, scholarship and service to build a more just world. The school’s students, faculty, staff, alumni and partners comprise a national network of scholars and practitioners who shape the course of nonprofit practice and research to drive societal change. 

FYC is a dynamic organization that mobilizes the Greater Cleveland community. It is dedicated to identifying and maximizing funding and strategies to support the organizations that provide services to women and infants who are at high risk for infant mortality. The geographic region FYC covers is primarily an urban setting and one of the most diverse and impoverished areas in the state of Ohio. 

Learn more about First Year Cleveland.

Watch this Spectrum 1 News story on miscarriage and the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Society (PAIL) Society.