The New York City Department of Health has announced the reopening of Family Wellness Suites at its Neighborhood Health Action Centers – providing birth attendants and their families with a comfortable, safe and welcoming environment. where families can participate in a wide variety of parenting and childbirth classes, connect with community resources as well as essential childcare supplies like car seats.
“When families do well, our city does better,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “That’s why our administration is committed to ensuring that all new parents have the tools and support they need to care for themselves and our youngest New Yorkers.” Family Wellness Suites gives expectant parents the skills they need to thrive on their journey and I’m thrilled that we’re reopening these suites to serve families across the city.
The reopening is also taking place during Black Maternity Health Week, with the NYC Department of Health hosting a series of community events at neighborhood health action centers in Brownsville, East Harlem and East Tremont.
Activities at the reopening event include Meet the Doulas, Respectful Care at Birth; Breastfeeding 101; mom and me yoga; childbirth education; and reading aloud with the public library. To find out the location of the Neighborhood Health Action Centers and how to register, click here.
Family Wellness Suites suspended services in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but were able to transition to online workshops and expanded services like emergency diaper distribution.
“By resuming in-person services, Family Wellness Suites are providing a range of essential resources to help families give their babies the best start before and after they are born.” said Dr. Michelle Morse, chief medical officer of the Department of Health and deputy commissioner of the Center for Health Equity and Community Wellbeing. “These services are necessary to meet the needs and ensure healthy conditions and environments for families living in marginalized and disengaged communities.
The Family Wellness Suites are part of the City’s plan to reduce race-based inequities in maternal and child health. In New York City, from 2001 to 2018, black births were on average 9.4 times more likely to die of a pregnancy-related death than white births. In 2019, black births also experienced an infant mortality rate 3.3 times higher than their white counterparts.
Mayor Adams last month announced the expansion of programs and resources to address disparities in maternal and child mortality, with the Department of Health also delivering programs such as the Doula Initiative nationwide. city, new family home visits and nurse-family partnership to promote healthy pregnancies and reproductive health. all of this to ensure safe and fair treatment for those giving birth.