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An Australian nurse who wants to start a Nurse-Family Partnership® public health program (NFP) in her hometown of Melbourne, visited  Lancaster for several days during April to learn more about the program.
Locally, Lancaster General Health and the United Way of Lancaster County collaborate to provide NFP services in our community. The program pairs registered nurses with low-income first-time mothers and their children. Nurses visit the women in their homes until their child reaches age two to ensure both mother and baby have a healthy start.
Catina Adams, a midwife and maternal and child health nurse with a master’s degree in Child and Family Health, was able to spend four weeks in the United States and Toronto, Canada, and four weeks in the United Kingdom learning about NFP under a Churchill Fellowship.   
Each year, the Churchill Fellowship offers 100 ordinary Australians the opportunity to travel to the far edges of the globe to conduct valuable research in their field of interest and bring back knowledge, experience, ideas and innovation for the betterment of their industry and Australia.
During her time here, Catina shadowed LG Health Nurse Family Partnership Nurses and spoke with young mothers enrolled in the program. “I learned the program provides more than childcare education to these young mothers,” she observed. “The nurses build a trusting and nurturing relationship with these women and help build their confidence to pursue their education and careers to become independent and financially secure.”
In 2010, two peer-reviewed studies found that 12 years after participating in Nurse-Family Partnership nurse-visited mothers cost the government less on food stamps, Medicaid and other assistance programs; reported longer relationships with partners; and had a greater sense of “maternal mastery.” *
“Here in Lancaster, I was privileged to meet with committed, highly-skilled nurses led by Theresa Whitesel, RN, (Supervisor of LG Health’s Nurse Family Partnership) and learned how they effectively connected with young mothers in a partnering way,” Catina continued. “The nurses here are doing an amazing job helping them become good moms. If you nurture and support a mom she in turn will nurture and support her child.”
The Nurse Family Partnership program has helped 1,067 families in Lancaster County since it began here in November 2001.
*The research also showed that the children of these nurse-visited mothers had higher academic test scores; reported less tobacco, drug or alcohol use; and had lower rates of anxiety and depression than control subjects. The papers are published in the May 2010 edition of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, a JAMA/Archives journal.
About Nurse-Family Partnership
The Nurse-Family Partnership National Service Office ( is committed to producing enduring improvements in the health and well being of low-income, first-time parents and their children by helping communities implement and sustain an evidence-based public health program of home visiting by registered nurses. Nurse-Family Partnership is the most rigorously tested maternal and early childhood health program of its kind. Randomized, controlled trials conducted over 30 years demonstrate multi-generational outcomes that benefit society economically and reduce long-term social service expenditures. Nurse-Family Partnership is headquartered in Denver, Colorado.
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