Atrium Health has long been a leader, both locally and nationally, in addressing disparities in healthcare. Through innovative community-based initiatives, Atrium Health remains committed to treating underserved patients across the Carolinas in their rhythm of life and supporting health outcomes in our most vulnerable patient populations. Now, with a generous $30,000 donation from AT&T, Atrium Health Women’s Care will expand one such initiative – the Centering Pregnancy and Parenting program – to address disparities in maternal and infant health in Mecklenburg County.

Centering Pregnancy and Parenting is an emerging model of care that takes women out of exam rooms and into a comfortable group setting for prenatal care and postpartum support. The evidence-based, holistic model of mutual support creates an environment where social and economic factors that affect health can be identified and addressed.

“Local and national studies indicate that the most significant opportunity to improve communities is through early childhood intervention,” shared Meghan Clithero, enterprise vice president of Atrium Health Women’s Care. “Centering programs have been shown to improve birth outcomes, promote parent engagement, and enhance family stability and community development through group visits and peer support.”

Atrium Health Women’s Care has adopted this care model at two of its community clinics, located at Atrium Health Myers Park OB/GYN and Atrium Health NorthPark OB/GYN, offering both English and Spanish speaking sessions. The majority of patients served by the program are not well integrated into the healthcare system due to cultural, linguistic, economic, geographic, and social barriers, and many are living at or below the national poverty thresholds. By bringing together a small group of women who share similar care needs, Atrium Health is able to provide customized support and address multifaceted issues in a trusting and comfortable environment.

Thanks to the generous support of AT&T, Atrium Health will expand its Centering program at both community clinics to help meet the growing demand for these services. The health system is also working to replicate the program at additional facilities, increasing access for women in other parts of Mecklenburg County.

“AT&T has a long heritage of supporting initiatives which have a positive impact for women’s lives and their families,” said Kathleen Evans, regional director of external affairs for AT&T North Carolina. “This contribution continues that tradition. We are pleased to support the work being done through the Centering program to address specific needs within the community.”

With AT&T’s gift, Atrium Health expects to serve over 600 women between August of 2021 and August of 2022, providing individualized prenatal assessments, personalized support, education and resources throughout their pregnancy.