Akron: Summit County has awarded Cleveland Clinic Akron General $1 million for the medical center’s Centering Pregnancy™ program. The grant is designed to increase access to prenatal care for women who have been affected by substance use disorder.
“We are grateful to be able to offer Centering Pregnancy to our community and especially to those women impacted by substance abuse. Locally and nationally, Centering Pregnancy has improved outcomes for mothers and babies,” said Jennifer Savitski, M.D., chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Akron General. “We are pleased to receive this award and would like to thank the Summit County Opioid Abatement Advisory Council for supporting this important initiative.”
Funding for the grant was made available by a legal settlement from Johnson & Johnson to reduce the devastation of the opioid epidemic in Summit County.
Centering Pregnancy is a national program in which women who have due dates near one another gather in small groups with a doctor or a nurse to discuss issues that affect their health and that of their babies. Topics can include nutrition, stress management, labor and delivery, and infant care. Akron General partners on the program with the AxessPointe Women’s Health Center.
Each visit is up to two hours, resulting in women spending about 10 times more time with a provider than occurs with traditional approaches to prenatal care. Each woman also is seen by a healthcare provider for her regular prenatal checkup at these sessions, such as blood pressure and weight checks.
“Since receiving financial settlements from the drug manufacturers and distributors, we have worked with our community partners to formulate a framework that will allow us to deploy current and future settlement dollars in a responsible and effective way,” said Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro. “Expanded Centering Pregnancy programming in our major health care systems will help pregnant women living with substance use disorders chart a course toward recovery and better health outcomes for mother and child.”
Centering Pregnancy is one of the core programs that Akron General is utilizing to increase access to healthcare for those affected by health disparities in Summit County. Other programs in Akron General’s Neighbor to Neighbor initiative include:
- A COVID-19 testing site in downtown Akron
- Community health programs such as the Minority Men’s Health Fair
- Education of the next generation of family physicians with an emphasis on social determinants of health and retaining physicians to serve in Akron
- Expanded wrap-around support for patients, such as frequent follow-up calls from social workers and nurses, at Akron General’s Center for Family Medicine