Celebrate nurses this National Nurses Week

May 6 to 12 is National Nurses Week so let’s take the time to celebrate all of the nurses we have here at five Family First Health sites!

During the week-long celebration, we want to draw some attention to our Nurse-Family Partnership program, which connects qualifying first-time mothers with an at-home nurse who visits through the baby’s second birthday.

It’s a great program that’s proven to bring success. Three randomized, controlled trials demonstrate that Nurse-Family Partnership delivers against its goals of better pregnancy outcomes, improved child health and development, and increased economic self-sufficiency. These outcomes contribute to preventing child abuse, reducing juvenile crime, and increasing school readiness.

In 2015, our nurses served 188 mothers with a total of 2,036 visits!

One of our mothers, Suleyka was attending Vo Tech when her daughter was born. She wanted to be done with school, but her nurse Judy kept encouraging her to go back and finish.

“If it wasn’t for her [Judy], I was going to get out of school. I was ready to finish, I wasn’t going to go back. She encouraged me to think about other options, think about the baby.”

Judy helped to walk her through a choices facilitator that outlined some the impact of choosing not to go back to school. Judy said, “So you don’t go back to school, so what is this going to do. You’re not going to graduate from high school, not going to be able to get a good paying job, not going to be able to provide the things your daughter needs or wants.”

When asked the best thing about her nurse, Suleyka shared: “When she helped me to think about things before I quit school. I thought nobody cared about it, but she really really cared and she was there for me.”

You can help us help more first-time mothers like Suleyka succeed through our Nurse-Family Partnership program by making a donation during this National Nurses Week.

There are four donation levels that let you make a DIRECT impact in one of our NFP homes. Making a donation is as easy as clicking on this link.

$25 –  Keeping them fed and clean – You get diapers and formula into the hands of a first-time mother for her child.

$50 – Get a move on – A mother gets an umbrella stroller for getting around in ease.

$75 – Checking in – This covers a developmental assessment for a child to determine that milestones are being met at certain stages.

$100 – Riding in style – This donation gets a car seat for a first-time mom and her child to keep them safe on the road.




Get involved in our free programs in April


There’s so much going on this month that we can’t even! 

It’s nearly April and we’ve got a lot going on at Family First Health. Let’s get caught up on what’s coming soon.

All month: It’s time for our Eat Your Greens campaign! This time we’re focusing on sneaking fruits and veggies into each of your meals. Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all month as we include tips, tricks and more!

April 1 and 2: This weekend, we’re teaming up with the vision van to bring free eye exams to all York students and then Saturday in Delta to the entire community. It’s pretty awesome, and we’re very excited. Read today’s York Dispatch story on the event.

Also on April 1 and 2: Our Caring Together staff April 1st and April 2nd The Caring Together program will  be working a table at the Bears, Bikers and Mayhem event in Adams County. They’ll be doing some HIV testing and education on HIV/AIDS.

April 16: Our Caring Together staff and volunteers will be readying the Serenity Garden for spring!

April 18: Free advance directive workshops. No one wants to think about themselves or someone they love reaching the end of life. But it’s something we need to plan for – so we can receive the type of care we want to have. All adults should have a plan for a health care crisis. So join us Monday, April 18 from 8 to 10 a.m. at our George Street Center for a free workshop.

April 23: It’s Go Green in the City! Join us on Beaver Street in York for veggie and fruit stamping fun for the kids. We’ll also have some juice samples from our friends at Mr. Nice Guy Produce and Corner Cabinet. This is part of our Eat Your Greens campaign, which this month is focused on sneaking fruits and veggies into every meal! We’ll be there from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

April 26: Our Hanover parenting classes – “Parenting the love and logic way” kicks off. The classes run May 3, May 24, June 7, June 24 and July 5 at our Hanover Center. It’s run by us and Family-Child Resources. Reach out to our patient care coordinator Hyacinth Gayle at 632-9052 or email hgayle@familyfirsthealth.org.

April 29: Join us at Hauser Estates Winery in Adams County for A Toast to Good Health. We’ll be celebrating years of service to the Adams County community. Get your tickets online – they include wine, apps, free music and a fishbowl raffle.

April 30: This is a very busy day for Family First Health. We will be at the Hispanic American Center Hanover’s Kids Day with the Hanover Center staff. Some of our dental staff will be at the Colgate Van at the York YMCA. And other staffers will likely be at Leg Up Farm’s Family Fun Day.

May 3: Our Diabetes Prevention Program with the YMCA kicks off. It will run every Tuesday from May 3 to Aug. 16 and is FREE to Family First Health patients. Childcare will be provided at our George Street center. Call 843-7884 x 248 for more information. Learn more about the program here!

I think that’s it. Excuse me while I go hide somewhere because it’s going to be a BUSY MONTH of serving everyone and caring for you!


This will be your friendly development and marketing team come May.



Staff gives back to nonprofits

Over the holidays, our sites picked charities of their choice to give back to with sales of ornaments, candy and donations. Each tree was decorated to the theme of the charity.

Here’s a rundown of all the giving done at the sites:

George Street Dental – $82 for the York Hospital NICU

George Street Medical – $136.75 for the Wounded Warrior Project

George Street third floor – $116 for Nurse-Family Partnership

Hanover Dental and Lewisberry – $80 for the Children’s Miracle Network

Hanover Medical – $67 for the American Cancer Society

Gettysburg – $55 and canned food donations for The Gleaning Project (Did you know that the Gleaning Project provides our Gettysburg patients with fresh produce?)

Hannah Penn – 150 pairs of underwear in their HannahPants campaign for Hannah Penn students

Thanks to all of our staff and patients who give back to causes that are important to us all!

AIDS Quilt 20 years later, bringing their children home

It started out simply as a plea for help on social media. We’re bringing parts of the AIDS Memorial Quilt to town, and we’re looking for local panels. And after a few requests online, nothing.

So then, reaching out to my old friend, the newspaper in hopes that our requests would reach a different (slightly older) demographic. The day the story ran in the York Dispatch my phone was ringing before 10 a.m.

On the other end was Arlene Bubb. The 87-year-old wasn’t sure I could help her, but she really hoped I could. She saw this article in the paper and had to try. She knew her son, Brian was on a panel. But she didn’t remember which one – since she made it, boxed it up and sent it out in the mid-90s. Hasn’t seen it since. And as she’s reflecting on life and getting some of her things in order, Arlene goes on to tell me she’s just not sure if I’ll be able to find it. The quilt, you see … she said to me … was of the 35-year-old … and she remembers exactly what it was like.

“Was it a caricature of him with a tie,” I interjected. Arlene went silent as she searched for words. When she finally spoke, her voice cracked. I can’t tell you what she said since I only remember the sentiment, but the fact that someone would be able to search the quilt online and find her son … it was something she never thought would happen. Of course, she grabbed a piece of paper and a pen and asked for the number.

Turns out, Arlene was part of The Open Group – a group of mothers who came together to support their children living with HIV/AIDS. They formed initially as a support for the family members, said Mary Jane Sanders – who called a few days after Arlene asking about her son’s panel. But Mary Jane said they quickly started working on ways to turn that around, serving lunches and dinners for those suffering from the disease. And of course, those ladies got together, learned to sew and made panels.

So far, we’ve been able to identify FOUR panels with York County ties, and we’re just getting started.

And every single time I get a phone call like Arlene and Mary Jane’s, it catches me off guard. They profusely thank me for doing this – for bringing the quilt back to York. They haven’t seen the quilt in 20+ years. And none of them have seen their panels since they shipped them off – most of them in the mid-90s. As they offer thanks, over and over, I stop them.

Some 20 years later, we get to bring their loved ones home.

For me, doing just that for them – even if it’s just 4 of them – is worth it. But we also get to shine a light on a chronic disease that’s still present in our world, even though many have forgotten about it.

So stay tuned. Because we’re bringing the AIDS Quilt from June 23-25 ahead of National HIV Testing Day. And we have some great ideas in the works.



Saving children’s teeth – a team effort

They say it takes a village to raise a child. So why not use a village to help educate parents and children to the importance of oral health?

We already know it’s a problem. Tooth decay is the No. 1 chronic disease facing children in America. Nearly 1 in 4 children between the ages of 2-5 have had tooth decay. And two-thirds will have had a cavity by their teens.

And we know that there’s something you can do – by making a donation as small as $25, you’re getting toothbrushes into the hands of 10 kids. 

But what then? That’s the question that’s been plaguing experts and people invested in children’s dental care. And one that’s honestly been driving me a little bit nuts since I started seeing the work our Kids Against Cavities program does.

You’ve seen the numbers. You’ve been asked to help. But how do we break the cycle and bring about change? Continue reading

Let’s talk facts about children’s dental health


LaJuan Mountain, our York dental director, was one of three dentists working on 93 children at VIDA Charter School in Gettysburg recently. Kids are screened for problems and notes are sent home with the goal of getting these kids into a dental home with routine, preventative care.

We’ve shown you our numbers – that out of 1,887 York County kids, our Kids Against Cavities staff found 2,351 cavities in 2015.

In our second Pre-K Counts visit of 2016, we screened 27 kids and found 87 cavities. In an hour and a half last week, we screened 93 kids at VIDA Charter School in Gettysburg.

We hope these numbers shock you. And then we ask you to help. With just the donation of $25, you can get 10 kids toothbrushes and toothpaste. 10 kids. Last week, I saw more than 10 kids who straight up told me they did not brush their teeth. Many said they didn’t have time. Maybe they just forget. One third grader told me her sister threw her toothbrush out and her parents hadn’t bought a new one.

They wouldn’t buy her a new toothbrush – something you could get at the dollar store. It’s something that just blows my mind because brushing my teeth twice a day is something my parents have always taught me. Many of the people I’ve talked to about our Kids Against Cavities program agree and are just as flabbergasted. And yet, grateful that it’s something we just grew up doing. We were taught it was important. Continue reading

Seeking AIDS Memorial Quilt panels with York-area ties


A panel from the AIDS Memorial Quilt

In York County alone, 92 people died from HIV in 2014, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. Statewide, the number stood at 4,320. While the HIV/AIDS crisis of the 1980s is over, HIV is still ever present in our population – though the use of medication helps make it a manageable chronic disease.

This summer, Family First Health, WellSpan Health and York College will bring 12 panels from the AIDS Memorial Quilt to central Pennsylvania as a reminder of the disease that’s still ever-present and a memorial to the more than 94,000 individuals lost to AIDS. The quilt will be displayed at Marketview Arts, 37 W. Philadelphia St., York, from June 23-25. It will be free to the public.

As plans are underway for events surrounding the three-day event – including National HIV Testing Day – Family First Health is seeking your input as we request which panels come to York. Have you seen the quilt before and been touched by a particular panel? Did you or someone you know work on a panel? Is there one in memory of a central Pennsylvania resident we’ve lost to HIV?

If you are aware of a panel with local ties – York, Hanover, Gettysburg, Lancaster, Harrisburg and more – please contact Kate Harmon, marketing and outreach coordinator with Family First Health. Contact her by phone, 717-801-4855 or email kharmon@familyfirsthealh.org. All requests should be made by May 1.

Continue reading