Harvey, Illinois, is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Chicago, but with public transportation, an hour and a half drive for the majority of its residents needing health services not available locally. However, now within this community, you will find a very special safe haven for pregnant women. Under the leadership and vision of Lisa Green, DO, MPH, CEO, and Cofounder, Family Christian Health Center, the health center opened its new Maternal Child Health + Wellness Center.
Maternal Child Health + Wellness offers women a whole ecosystem of care led by five Black and Latino OB-GYNs and a Maternal Fetal Medicine team for high-risk patients. Services offered include:
- onsite lab services
- postpartum and pediatric care
- behavioral health
- case managers connecting housing and daycare programs, etc.
- Centering Pregnancy program
Soon the health center will offer Level 2 Ultrasound onsite. This is a key maternal fetal health service provided, so women won’t have to leave the community to get it.
The environment of this Maternal Child Health + Wellness Center is as important as the services offered. When patients step inside, they enter a beautiful, warm, and welcoming space filled with colorful paintings, a floor to ceiling waterfall, refreshment credenza, patient education specifically for women, and soothing music. It is a calm, tranquil, and welcoming environment.
Without any marketing, the Maternal Child Health + Wellness Center has quickly grown. It now serves between 500-800 patients every month, representing 50 percent of deliveries from the neighboring hospital. In 2022 alone, the health center reported very positive impact:
- 254 deliveries
- 608 new OB intakes
- 3,275 patients used case management resources
Building Community and Empowering Voices Through Group Prenatal Care
One of the health center’s most unique programs is its Centering Pregnancy program which is funded through a one-time Blue Cross Blue Shield grant. Centering Pregnancy is a form of group prenatal care with small groups of 5-10 women who benefit from an extended visit with their OB-GYN.
The Centering Pregnancy group offers a bundled, comprehensive health visit including assessments, group learning, and social support. These groups create a therapeutic open exchange and discussion between the patients and provider.
Patients are grouped by trimester, so they bond as they go through their pregnancies. This forms a very safe space to ask questions and gain advice. “For patients, this is a no judgment zone,” says Dr. Green. “A lot of people don’t have anyone to talk to. This pregnancy group becomes like their surrogate family.” Participating physicians are equally engaged. One provider who is the Chair of Obstetrics at a local hospital recently told Dr. Green: