Prenatal & Infant Care Network

The St. Joseph Community Health Foundation and Healthier Moms & Babies co-facilitate a quarterly webinar meeting for anyone in the community interested in providing quality prenatal and infant care services in northeast Indiana. The quarterly meetings focus on strengthening skills and knowledge of prenatal care providers by:

  • providing introductions to others engaged in this work in the community for easier referral and coordination of resources;
  • offering professional education on new trends, research and best practices in prenatal and infant health;
  • sharing updates on local programming and opportunities regarding prenatal & infant services.

Previous Prenatal & Infant Care Network Webinar:

Is Fort Wayne really the most affordable city?: Housing trends and resources for parents, children, and vulnerable populations

Thursday, December 1, 2022, 10:00AM | Zoom Webinar

Affordable, quality housing is essential for personal, family, and community health and wellness. Fort Wayne is often ranked as one of the most affordable cities to live in, but with rising costs and fewer housing options, many people are struggling—including parents and children. The St. Joe Foundation joined a conversation with local agencies and experts on local housing trends, the impact of not having access to affordable housing, and the resources available to help. This webinar was an opportunity for local agencies, care providers, and those within the Prenatal & Infant Care Network to learn more about housing and help their clients better understand their circumstances and feel empowered. Speakers included:

Denita Washington is the director of programs for the Fort Wayne Housing Authority. She is also the founder and executive director of Fort Wayne Girlz Rock, Inc. As a community leader and educational advocate, Denita served in the Fort Wayne Community Schools system for over 15 years and eventually East Allen County Schools where she worked as a Family Group Specialist. In 2018, Denita made history by becoming the first African American and woman elected to serve as the Adams Township Trustee. She is a lifelong resident of Fort Wayne and graduate of R. Nelson Snider High School. Denita attended Indiana Purdue University Fort Wayne where she earned a Bachelor of General Studies, and she earned a Master of Science in educational leadership from Concordia University in Portland, Oregon.

Denita shared resources and practical steps for what to do in a time of need.

Erin Norton, R.N., B.S.N., MBA has been a maternal child health nurse since 2000 and has worked in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She currently serves as the Director of Community Outreach for Parkview Health’s Women’s and Children’s Services and coordinates the Allen County Fetal Infant Mortality Review.

Erin shared recent data and Allen County Fetal Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) recommendations related to maternal and fetal health, and helped demonstrate why stable housing is critical for young mothers and infants.

Rachel Blakeman, J.D., has served as the director of the Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute since July 2017 and is an adjunct professor at PFW, having taught Law and Public Policy and Hospitality and Tourism Law. Prior to joining CRI, she worked for the City of Fort Wayne as a compliance officer, focusing on records management, emphasizing disposition, digitization and preservation. As a community volunteer, Blakeman has served as the WBOI-WBNI Community Advisory Board chair, the board president of the Allen County Bar Foundation, board member for the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, and a mentor and coach for local We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution high school teams going to the state and national championships.

Rachel discussed housing trends, provided context for why so many people are struggling, and addressed whether Fort Wayne is truly an affordable city.

Stasia Roth is the founder and executive director of A Mother’s Hope. She collaborates with staff on admission and programming decisions as well as provides administrative oversight to ensure A Mother’s Hope stays true to its mission and is financially secure. Her goal is to make A Mother’s Hope a positive experience for every woman, baby, staff member and volunteer. Stasia is a member of the Prenatal and Infant Care Network, Fort Wayne Housing Authority Community Partners, Fort Wayne Planning Council on Homelessness, System of Care Allen County, National Maternity Housing Coalition, and Footprints Fort Wayne which is focused on reducing infant mortality in Allen County. Her favorite part of A Mother’s Hope is witnessing the change in each resident’s outlook for her future—going from hopeless to filled with hope for something she never imagined her life could be.

Stasia shared how the lack of available affordable housing impacts her work and her clients.

Jackie Martinez is the Programs Director at Healthier Moms and Babies. Jackie has over 15 years of community service through case management services and community outreach. She has her master’s degree in nonprofit management and the following trainings/certifications: Postpartum Support International Perinatal Mood Disorders “Components of Care” training certificate, Certified Lactation Specialist, Centering® Pregnancy Facilitator, Certified Baby & Me-Tobacco Free Program Facilitator, Certified Medical Interpreter, Certificate-Young Leaders of Northeast Indiana Institute.

Jackie discussed helping clients identify their specific needs and how to help them fill those gaps with relevant support and resources.

Additional Prenatal & Infant Care Resources

View videos and materials from previous luncheons:

Get email updates about luncheons, and other educational opportunities:

Safe Sleep

The Sleep Safely Campaign provides at-risk families both a safe place for babies to sleep, and education on how to put baby safely to sleep.

Community Health Resource Directories

Order directories of quality, local, free and low-cost prenatal and infant health resources:

PIC Network Steering Committee: