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July 2014

Wellness Campaign

Healthy Pregnancy and

Early Childhood Growth

Families First

Written by Jeanine Emery, RN

Families First Care Coordinator

NMDOH - New Mexico Department Of Health

This article is part of a project of the local Community Health Improvement Council (CHIC). CHICs were created statewide in conjunction with the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) with the goal of getting local citizens, groups, service providers and county governments more involved in the manner in which health might be improved in each of their communities. The mission is to promote the health and well-being of all people in San Juan County and neighboring regions through broad-based dialogue, partnership, advocacy and unified action.


The local CHIC is conducting an on-going awareness campaign addressing all the areas that can potentially affect a person’s health. July has been designated by the CHIC as the month to bring awareness to the topic of healthy pregnancy and early childhood growth and development through the Families FIRST program.


Families FIRST is a case management program for New Mexico Medicaid-eligible pregnant women and children ages three and under. It is administered through the New Mexico Department of Health Public Health Division, with support from the Human Services Department. One of Families FIRST program goals is to improve pregnancy outcomes through assessment and education during each trimester and at postpartum. Educational packets are from a variety of sources, including: Women, Infant & Children (WIC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Another goal of the program is to increase positive developmental outcomes for infants and children from birth to age three. Ages and Stages Questionnaires© are used at regular intervals to monitor the child’s physical and social-emotional development.  All case management services, including face-to-face assessments, home visits, and referrals are provided by on-site registered nurses.


Families FIRST services are at no cost to clients and include:


  • Initial and ongoing, face-to-face assessment of a client’s medical, psychosocial strengths and risk factors

  • Development of a client-specific plan of care to address identified problems

  • Provision of health education literature related to pregnancy, gestational diabetes, birth, newborn care, breastfeeding, nutrition, maternal depression, positive discipline, substance use, familyplanning, learning activities for infants and children, safety awareness, and anticipatory guidance for development and viewing of educational videos

  • Referrals as needed

  • In-home visits

  • Assistance with establishing a Primary Care Physician

  • Connecting clients with community resources such as: housing-rental assistance, WIC, SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and other nutrition resources, legal aid services, employment, GEDand other education opportunities, dental care, smoking cessation information, car seats, charitable food/clothing/diapers, transportation services, low or no cost cell phone service


Pregnant women can enroll in Families FIRST at anytime during their pregnancy, including postpartum, and are not limited to first-time pregnancy. Parents can enroll their children at any time during the first three years of life.


Families FIRST is located in Farmington and Bloomfield at the San Juan County Public Health Offices. Interested persons can call 505-327-4461 for more information or to schedule an appointment. Outside of San Juan County, individuals can call 877-842-4152 to find the nearest Families FIRST location.


2014 July 01

KSJE 90.9 FM

The Scott Michlin Morning Program


Interview with

Jeanine Emery

Link to


Families First

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