Q & A with With LuAnne Brown

CEO of Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network discusses the agency’s mission and its efforts to help those less fortunate igain access to prenatal, perinatal and postpartum health care, among other services

By Mike Billoni

Brown
Brown

LuAnne Brown is the chief executive officer of the Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network, Inc., a nonprofit organization which is one of 16 comprehensive networks established in 1987 by former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo. At the time, he was responding to the high infant mortality and low birthweight infants throughout the state. The Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network began with a staff of 10 and has grown to its present staff of 55. It operates on a $2.9-million budget and is funded by the New York State Department of Health and the state’s Office of Children and Family Services; The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County; The John R. Oishei Foundation, and the Mother Cabrini Foundation. Brown, a former nursing executive at the John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital, has been the Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network CEO since January 2015.

Q. What is the mission of Buffalo Prenatal-Perinatal Network?

A. “The coordinating and collaborating with key stakeholders in Erie County and the city of Buffalo to increase access to and utilization of preconception, prenatal, perinatal and postpartum health care services in the community. The agency and its programs work within the community to help identify problems of adequacy, acceptability and a accessibility in the delivery of these services, especially to those who are high-need; to seek support for implementation of programs and services that help attain the agency’s mission; promote coordination between service providers who serve similar consumers/clients; and to provide informational and educational activities for providers and consumers, to help enable improved birth outcomes for the targeted population.”

Q. What is the primary focus of BPPN?

A. “Our focus is to improve pregnancy outcomes, promote better maternal and infant/child health care, establish better linkages between existing programs and ensure families have access to the full range of preventive and primary health care, social support and educational resources in Erie County. We serve more than 25 zip codes in high risk neighborhoods on Buffalo’s East and West Side, as well as South Buffalo, Cheektowaga and Lackawanna. Our target populations are African-American and Hispanic women since they have demonstrated the highest rates of low birth weight infants and infant mortality.”

Q. Explain some of the programs operated by BPPN?

A. “We currently house the Department of Health Maternal Infant Community Health Collaborative (MICHC), which was awarded to us in late 2013. The program works with Medicaid-eligible high-need, low-income women and their families to improve their health outcomes while reducing racial, ethnic and economic disparities. MICHC integrates and replaces our Network and Community Health Worker programs, but components of those programs are used in the new initiative to help with the development of a community-wide system-based approach to improve maternal and infant health outcomes.  We also offer The Buffalo Home Visiting Program, which offers comprehensive home based services to families for 3-5 years after a child is born. Our goal is help parents meet the challenges of parenting in order to assure healthy development for their children.

Q. What makes BPPN so special?

A. “We are proud to be one of the first agencies in Buffalo to have women of color as certified lactation consultants; we have 90% of the children we serve up to date on immunizations; 95% of our clients have a medical provider; 90% will have a recommended number of well-baby visits and 35% of moms will now breast feed their newborn child for the first three months. We are also especially proud of our newest program — Nurturing Fathers — for current or expectant fathers to educate and advocate for men in the areas of responsible fatherhood, to promote involvement and quality father-child relationships; as well as providing fathers with the support needed to improve economic mobility for the strengthening of the family and community infrastructure.”