Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

Westfield Memorial Hospital, Inc.

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

May 2012

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

January 1, 2008 – November 17, 2010


The Amish communities of Northwestern Chautauqua County deliver approximately 65–80 babies per year with no professional assistance.

Prenatal care, including routine tests and examinations to predict potential complications, are not available in the area. According to Amish customs and beliefs, women do not seek prenatal care during, or after, their pregnancy. As a result, the number of unanticipated complications at birth is greatly increased among this population.

With NYHealth’s support, Westfield Memorial Hospital improved access to prenatal and postnatal care for these Amish families by providing a comprehensive ambulatory midwifery care program for mothers and babies—in the home or in a local clinic—therefore making the site of health care more accessible and culturally appropriate.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Developed an understanding of the attitudes, customs, and behaviors of the Amish, and how to work within their culture to provide optimal health care.
  • Hired a certified nurse midwife and provided high-quality care for mothers and babies that was affordable, accessible, and safe. Seventy-five Amish women participated in this project—30 in year one, and 45 in year two. Care received as a result of the program and its results also met national or State guidelines.
  • Coordinated a collaborative agreement with a nearby hospital for referral and consultation services and clinical resources, such as primary care providers, and laboratory, radiology, and obstetrical services for the Amish women. Ten percent of women used the laboratory services during their prenatal care in the first year; 25% used it in the second year.
  • Educated and supported Amish women to breastfeed; the breastfeeding success rate (defined as the percentage of babies still breastfeeding by six weeks of age) was 83% in the first year and 100% in the second year.
  • Achieved compliance for newborn metabolic screening of 95% and weight gain by the babies receiving care in the program was consistent with American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines.