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Children’s Health Initiative

It’s clear that there is a strong link between health and well-being early in life, and health and well-being later in life. That’s why HealthPartners and Park Nicollet wants every child to have a healthy start and bright future.

Our doctors and care teams aim to be partners in parenting for our members and patients. And, we are working to improve the health of all children from prenatal through early childhood in our community.

We’ve partnered with Greater Twin Cities United Way to lead this charge. We’re asking our community to put children’s health and brain development first. It’s as easy as encouraging parents to read, talk and sing with their children starting from day one. Check out this video of area leaders who are already on board.

We have initiatives that focus on three areas to support mothers and children from pregnancy to five years old: promote early brain development, provide family-centered care and strengthen communities. Read more and hear from two of our medical leaders about why it matters. Learn more by visiting our Health Matters blog. Some of our work on children’s health includes:

Read, Talk, Sing

Did you know reading, talking and singing to your child helps their brain grow and develop? Your child is learning about everything around them. Reading, talking and singing helps grow their vocabulary and even sets them up for a more successful future. So go ahead – read, talk and sing with your child every day!

As part of our efforts to spread this message, all primary care clinics are participating in Reach Out and Read, a national program that builds on the special relationship between parents and their pediatrician to help brain development by encouraging parents to read to their children. At well-child visits between six months and five years, your child will receive a book from your pediatrician or other caregiver who will talk with you about the importance of reading. Learn more or watch a video.

HealthPartners is also collaborating with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities to support parents to read, talk and sing to their young children every day. The two organizations teamed up on a resource called “Boost Your Brain.” This booklet suggests different things parents can do to engage their child. Activities range from singing the ABCs to talking about favorite animals and what sounds and movements they make.

For more information about early brain development:

Postpartum depression

Postpartum depression can be a serious illness for mothers – and it can also lead to serious developmental problems for their babies. HealthPartners’ model is to proactively provide treatment and support to mothers who have recently given birth and are experiencing depression. Watch Amy’s story.

Healthy beginnings

Using alcohol, tobacco and other drugs during pregnancy is a leading cause of premature birth and mental and physical problems in children. The Mother-Baby program, now called Healthy Beginnings, started in 1989 to create a trusting relationship with pregnant women to help them give their babies the best beginning possible. If you’re a new mom, expect a questionnaire from a Mother-Baby specialist, who is either a social worker or an RN, who will help offer support so that your baby can have the best chance at early health. Watch Cheri’s story.

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