Newsroom > DHHS News Release


November 5, 2008

Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or


DHHS Receives Health Promotion Grant for Mothers

Lincoln—Nebraska is one of 13 states to receive a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration to promote healthy births. The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services will receive $1 million over two years for the First-time Motherhood/New Parent Initiative.

“Getting to a doctor and getting health information can be significant barriers to young women of low income,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer, the state’s Chief Medical Officer. “This grant will enable us to launch an awareness campaign for young women to promote healthy behaviors now and to prepare them for the future, including pregnancy and motherhood.”

The messages that women need to receive, she said, include taking folic acid before pregnancy, exercise, good nutrition and not smoking.

“If women are healthy, whether it’s before conception, during pregnancy or between pregnancies, they will have healthier babies,” Dr. Schaefer said.

Women most at risk of poor birth outcomes are the target of the campaign—the uninsured or those from racial ethnic minorities, age 16-25. Focus groups will be used to look at their biological, behavioral, psychological and social needs and gather information about risk factors and outcomes. The best ways of reaching them will be evaluated, including the use of new media such as YouTube and text messaging. Outreach to partners will be part of the campaign.

“This grant will help us address health disparities and improve birth outcomes,” Dr. Schaefer said.

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