First Year Cleveland moves to the Mandel School

"First Year Cleveland" logo on a navy blue background

First Year Cleveland (FYC) has transitioned to the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. 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.

With its transition to the Mandel School, First Year Cleveland now has significant support from the school as its fiscal agent and backbone agency. As such, the school has considerable financial investment from foundation partners and the CWRU Offices of the President and Provost.

FYC will operate out of Dean Dexter Voisin's office, where staff will grow to ten over the coming year. Faculty members Rob Fischer, Sonia Minnes and Ann Nguyen are serving as members of the Mandel School’s FYC Advisory Taskforce and will help strategize ways to engage rich community assets to support FYC. Searches are currently underway for an executive director, finance manager and program manager to directly support FYC community partners.

Community Partners will continue to do the vital, on-the-ground, culturally-informed work of caring for families and improving birth outcomes. There is great energy and enthusiasm for the Mandel School to be in a deep relationship with the community partners, follow their lead and support their work. Many community partners have ties to the school, and there are already models for backbone support including convening, data and program evaluation, policy and advocacy work, and communication – while engaging MSW, MNO and PhD students. In addition, the Mandel School's expertise, which includes research and training in trauma-informed care, social determinants of health, and housing and community health, will center women and families alongside FYC's community partners to reduce infant mortality.

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.