Special Projects Fund

Grantee Name

What to Expect Foundation

Funding Area

Special Projects Fund

Publication Date

May 2011

Grant Amount


Grant Date:

December 1, 2007 – December 31, 2009

The United States infant mortality rate is higher than that of 29 other nations, and more than 40 million adults have limited literacy skills.

Many at-risk women do not receive comprehensive, coordinated care and health literacy education that would lead to healthier pregnancies and to building skills that would assist them in advocating for their own and their family’s health.

Under this grant, the What to Expect Foundation (WTEF) collaborated with Public Health Solutions (PHS) to roll out its pilot-tested Baby Basics Program to low-income, low-literacy expectant and new mothers seeking prenatal and postpartum care at several New York City maternal and child health clinics run by PHS (MIC-Women’s Health Services sites).

The Baby Basics Program provides health literacy tools, training, and technical assistance to everyone who works with a pregnant woman, from the receptionist, to the doctor, to the home visitor—so they can better communicate and educate underserved, expecting women. During the course of the grant, more than 5,000 mothers were reached through the five MIC sites and the home visiting programs, exceeding its expected outcomes.

Outcomes and Lessons Learned

  • Conducted project readiness activities at each site using process mapping, a technique used to review the current process of providing care to expectant and new mothers, and to determine how it must shift to accommodate the Baby Basics Program.
  • Hired a Baby Basics Coordinator to manage the day-to-day aspects of the project and to provide support and technical assistance to each site throughout implementation, practice, and evaluation.
  • Evaluated the program, which included securing Institutional Review Board approval for all evaluation activities, obtaining client and practitioner surveys, and obtaining baseline administrative data.
  • Trained staff at participating sites, which included creating customized materials and chart documentation forms to fit with Baby Basics and MIC program materials.
  • Held a total of 11 formal training workshops at MIC women’s health centers where more than 150 staff members were trained, including clinic site staff, Healthy Start home visitor staff, and Nurse Family Partnership staff.
  • Distributed Baby Basics books and planners to every new and established pregnant MIC patient, Bright Start participant, and NFP client.
  • Co-sponsored a Literacy Day at MIC Bushwick with the Brooklyn Public Library.