Contributing Author

Patient & Family Services: CLASSY Awards Top 5

Patient and Family Services programs ease the hardship associated with disease. They do not address the disease itself, but serve to assist people with the necessary day-to-day activities that become too difficult, such as transportation, morale, food and housing. View the key indicators of this subcategory here.

Nurse-Family Partnership
Invest in Kids
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING In Colorado, 12% of pregnant women admit to using alcohol and only 78% of two-year-olds are fully immunized, according to the CDC and CO Immunization Coalition, respectively. Every day vulnerable women become pregnant without the resources to ensure a healthy pregnancy and a healthy start for her child. For a mom not ready to care for a child, a new baby can mean continuation of poverty and despair.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Nurse-Family Partnership
Program Name


Start date

Michelle Neal
Program Director


Nurse-Family Partnership® is a relationship-based program that provides low-income, 1st time moms in Colorado with a highly-trained professional home nurse visitor during pregnancy until the child turns 2. NFP aims to produce long-term changes in the lives of the mother and child through improvements in pregnancy outcomes, child health and development, and economic self-sufficiency. In the last 14 years, 16,695 clients have enrolled in the program, showing positive progress. In participants, there has been a 21% decrease in smoking in pregnancy, 32% decrease in alcohol use in pregnancy, 48% decrease in experience of domestic violence during pregnancy, and lastly, 90.4% of 2 year olds are fully immunized. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Mitch Morrissey, Denver District Attorney” class=”top5″]The Nurse-Family Partnership is a unique proven investment in the 2 ½ year relationship between a nurse and young mother that is proven to have a profound impact on the quality of both the mother and child’s life. The proven programs IIK brings to our communities have repeatedly been demonstrated to save taxpayer dollars while helping families and their children succeed. [/su_quote]


Maternal Care for Low-Income Women in Kenya
Jacaranda Health
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING A woman in Kenya is 100 times more likely to die during childbirth than a mother in Europe. In poor, peri-urban areas in Nairobi there are 700 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Women in these areas lack sufficient access to high-quality, respectful and affordable prenatal, delivery and postnatal medical care.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Maternal Care for Low-Income Women in Kenya
Program Name

Nairobi, Kenya

Start date

Nick Pearson
Program Director


Jacaranda Health is working to change how maternal medical care is provided in Africa. The WHO estimates that maternal mortality can be reduced by 75% by providing safe care in facilities with a simple package of interventions. Knowing this, their model combines business and clinical innovations to create a self-sustaining and scalable chain of hospitals offering poor, urban women high-quality yet affordable reproductive health care services. The first hospital built in Kenya used inputs that mimic the approaches and tools used by the most innovative health networks in the US, such as Kaiser Permanente, IDEO, and Mayo Clinic, into low-resource settings. The hospital saw 265 safe deliveries and 4,300 outpatient visits in 2013. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Nick Pearson, Program Director” class=”top5″]Our operations and clinical team are very focused — their unique expertise in systems, quality improvement, clinical operations, and measurement are enabling us to build a world-class model of care that is truly cost effective. Our value to the maternal health community will be the strength of the systems they’re building. [/su_quote]

Jacaranda Health from Gabriela Arp on Vimeo.

Verbal Applications Inc
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Poor communication results in 3 times more adverse events, poorer quality of care, unsatisfied patients, and inefficient care. According to the NIH, US hospitals waste over $12B annually due to poor communication alone. The 6-8 million people living with speech disabilities or the 14 million non-fluent English speakers are at the greatest risk, but poor communication affects all patients.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]VerbalCare
Program Name

Boston, Massachusetts

Start date

Nick Dougherty
Program Director


VerbalCare is a patient engagement platform that connects patients with their nurses. Through a tablet application stationed at their bedside, patients of all abilities can effectively and accurately express their needs to the Nursing Staff. In turn, nurses can respond and fulfill requests more efficiently, thereby improving patient satisfaction and overall care quality. VerbalCare was piloted at Massachusetts General Hospital where it was met with great success. 2 out of 6 patients were able to speak for the first time using Verbal where they had been unable to communicate prior. Nurses stated after the trial “there is a compelling need [for Verbal]” and that it “aids in communication with a vulnerable population–those who cannot speak for themselves–allowing patients to state their needs and caregivers to meet them in a timely manner without frustration on either end.” Without being advertised, VerbalCare Home acquired 200+ users and generated over 11,000+ conversations in less than a year. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Deanna Dwyer, Franciscan Hospital for Children” class=”top5″] Communication is key to quality care delivery. We are piloting [Verbal] at Franciscan Hospital for Children that we anticipate will benefit both our patients and our nursing staff by making communication more accurate and efficient. [/su_quote]

Maternal Health Care
Global Birthing Home Foundation
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Haiti has the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the western hemisphere, and many rural villages, especially in the south of Haiti, do not have access to maternal health care facilities. This is due to a combination of extreme poverty and a near total lack of infrastructure, and complicated by a tradition of unattended home delivery, which has grown out of unfortunate circumstance. In Haiti, there are 59 infant mortalities per 1,000 live births and 630 maternal mortalities per 100,000 births.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]Maternal Health Care
Program Name

Torbeck, Haiti

Start date

Dr. Elizabeth Wickstrom
Program Director


The Maternal Health Care clinic was opened in an area with no other maternal or infant care facilities. The clinic has removed barriers to care by providing women with transportation, free health care and, in order to combat cultural stigma, education to families on the importance of institutional care and attended births. The clinic is employed by a 100% Haitian staff and has a strong community health outreach program. The clinic offers a full range of services, including prenatal, postnatal, family planning, women’s reproductive health, HIV/AIDS testing and treatment (PMTCT), and well baby care (general health checkups and vaccinations). They also send community health workers out into the surrounding area to canvas for pregnant women, provide basic exams, and refer women to the health center as needed. The primary indicator of their success is a maternal mortality rate of 0 for all mothers who have delivered at the facility. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Dr. Elizabeth Wickstrom, Program Director” class=”top5″]There are many unserved and underserved rural villages and towns in Haiti that need the same services we offer at Maison de Naissance. Our model of care’s efficacy is statistically sound and effective, and could be easily replicated in additional communities that need quality maternal health care services, delivered in a culturally appropriate setting and manner. [/su_quote]

Hospital Artist-In-Residence Program
The Creative Center at University Settlement
WHAT THEY’RE ADDRESSING Cancer patients experience many emotional challenges during their diagnosis and course of treatment including anxiety, pain, lack of control, loss of identity and extreme isolation. Despite the attention of medical professionals, patients, their families and caregivers, often report that these “symptoms” are as difficult to manage as the disease itself. In New York, 1 million people were treated for cancer in 2012.

[su_pullquote align=”right” class=”top5″]The Creative Center’s Hospital Artist-In-Residence Program
Program Name

New York

Start date

Robin Glazer
Program Director


Recent studies compiled by the National Institute of Health provide growing evidence that some types of art-based interactive interventions during hospitalization and out-patient treatment procedures are effective in reducing adverse psychological outcomes. The Hospital AIR Program trains artists-in-residence to work with people, one-one and small groups, who are undergoing treatment for a cancer diagnosis. Now present in 26 hospitals across New York, they offer a safe and supportive space to create art at the bedside or treatment chair, providing a creative “toolbox” of skills, both technical and aesthetic, that people need to access their own resources, throughout their treatment. The AIR program includes drawing, painting, collage, ceramics, fiber- knitting, crocheting, embroidery, jewelry, poetry and fiction writing, and music. In 2010 and again in 2012, LIVESTRONG funded and replicated the Program in 42 hospital sites across the US. With this replication, the program reached 38,000 patients, family members and staff in 2012. LEARN MORE.

[su_quote cite=”Robin Glazer, Program Director” class=”top5″] We believe that training more arts and healthcare professionals on the importance of the creative process for people in treatment for cancer can completely change the treatment experience of a cancer patient. [/su_quote]


The Health Experts

The Leadership Council is an honorary board comprised of a diverse group of experts that will collectively determine the winners of the CLASSY Awards in this cause sector. Their unique perspective and valuable insight establishes this recognition as one of the highest honors in the social sector.


Photo credit: Global Birthing Home Foundation

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