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Healthy Newborns Are the Mission of the Children’s Health and Research Foundation
June 1, 2012
There is nothing more important than the health and well being of newborns and the mothers who give birth to them. With this in mind the Children’s Health & Research Foundation, Inc. has dedicated itself to ensuring that infants and children in the Hudson Valley thrive and live long, healthy lives.
The Foundation was established in the summer of 2010 as a public benefit tax-exempt not-for-profit corporation. It is based in White Plains and focuses primarily on education and outreach, while serving as a resource for funding physician research into the causes and prevention of child illnesses. Clinical trials are also conducted in the areas of mother and child health, wellness, and disease prevention. According to Martin Gorman, the Foundation’s Executive Director, there was an urgent need in the region for an organization geared toward raising funds and awareness of prenatal and perinatal health, while educating the community about the importance of preventing illness among this most vulnerable group of patients.
“There are other foundations in the region that have their own charters and that focus on specific areas, but we found there was a need to target education, outreach and ·research specifically, as we are,” Mr. Gorman states. An attorney with many years of experience in the Hudson Valley business community, Mr. Gorman was asked by Leonard Newman, MD and Michael H. Gewitz, MD of Children’s ang Women’s Physicians of Westchester, LLP, to devote his considerable expertise to the organization. “Drs. Newman, Gewitz and others recognized the need for this Foundation, and they generously donated the seed money. It was several months of work to create it.” Allen Dozor, MD, Director of the Children’s Environmental Health Center of the Hudson Valley, was also involved in the creation of the Foundation.
The end result, Mr. Gorman says, is a vibrant organization that actively disseminates information about prenatal health while aggressively pursuing grant money to fund much-needed research.
Prior to the formation of the Foundation, three distinct prenatal and perinatal outreach programs were being operated under the auspices of Edmund LaGamma, MD, Director of the Neonatal-Perinatal Fellowship Program. These programs, funded by New York State and the seven counties that comprise the lower Hudson Valley, were in existence for about six years before being folded into the Foundation. Today the Foundation’s programs include the Comprehensive Prenatal Perinatal Services Network that assesses and fills needs in perinatal services; Healthy from Birth for Life, which involves a social health marketing campaign aimed at improving birth outcomes in high-risk communities; and Go Before You Show, an outreach and social health marketing campaign stressing importance of prenatal care in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. These program areas are all delivered through the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network, a group dedicated to eliminating disparities in perinatal health care while promoting mother and child health throughout the region.
The Foundation also supports the Children’s Environmental Health Center of the Hudson Valley, under the direction of Allen Dozor, MD. The Center strives to protect children from exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants by raising awareness and making recommendations to communities and governmental agencies. The Center works with medical and environmental health experts at the Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital at Westchester Medical Center, New York Medical College’s School of School of Health Sciences and Practice, and other regional institutions.
The Foundation aggressively is pursuing grants that the Board of Directors feels are essential in furthering the goal of infant and child health. The areas of neonatology, genetics and pulmonology are currently the Foundation’s highest priorities in seeking grant monies for sponsored clinical research. “A clinical advisory committee comprised of preeminent physicians reviews grants and advises the board on which the Foundation should pursue to fulfill its charitable mission to support children’s health,” Mr. Gorman explains.
The Foundation has had success in soliciting private and corporate donations for clinical research. Grants have been bestowed to several doctors at Westchester Medical Center, “but we’re not limited to that; we will consider supporting any person in the region who has a promising idea for research in an area of children’s health,” Mr. Gorman says.
Seeing fewer babies born with preventable health conditions is a core purpose of the organization. “This was the genesis of the Foundation,” Mr. Gorman states. “I’ve been very pleased with what we’ve accomplished in just two years.” The Foundation has recruited a dynamic group of independent community leaders to serve in its Board of Directors. As a result, the Board has doubled in size since the inception of the Foundation. “This has been a high priority of the Foundation – creating a vibrant board of directors that is passionate about and committed to the work of the organization and to help identify sources of support.” Fund-raising efforts this year include an annual golf outing at Glen Arbor Golf Club in Bedford Hills, and an Oktoberfest celebration at the Double Tree by Hilton in Tarrytown.
Mr. Gorman is enthusiastic about the work accomplished by the Foundation so far, and is optimistic about future endeavors. “We’re still in our infancy!”