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New Haven MOMS

The New Haven MOMS Partnership® is powered by a collaboration of agencies across the City of New Haven that work together to support the wellbeing of mothers and families living in the city. The collaboration includes: Clifford Beers Clinic, the State of Connecticut Department of Children and Families, City of New Haven, Elm City Communities Housing Authority of New Haven, National Diaper Bank Network, Maternal and Child Health, New Haven Healthy Start, The Diaper Bank of Connecticut, Read to Grow, and the Yale School of Medicine.

We are happy to announce that the MOMS Partnership™ Stress Management course in New Haven will be provided for Spanish-speaking moms! We are beginning to build a community of Hispanic mothers to join and receive emotional support and at the same time build an atmosphere of support right through our service.

¡Estamos felices de anunciar que el Proyecto MOMS para Madres en New Haven será facilitado para madres que hablen Español! Estamos comenzando a construir una comunidad de madres hispanas que se unan a recibir apoyo emocional y a la vez construir un ambiente de apoyo atravesó de nuestro servicio.

New Haven Guide Team

The New Haven MOMS Guide Team is a coalition of organizations who lead the MOMS Partnership® in New Haven. Each organization represents both families and services that are critical to mothers in New Haven. Through their organizational partnership and capacity the MOMS Partnership is well positioned to support mothers and families becoming healthier and creating healthy neighborhoods and communities.

Janet Stolfi Alfano, MSW currently serves as the Executive Director of The Diaper Bank of Connecticut, a non-profit organization that provides diapers to families in need in New Haven, Hartford, Fairfield, Middlesex and Windham Counties in Connecticut. Janet started at The Diaper Bank in 2007 as the Operations Manager and has been Executive Director since 2011, when she joined the MOMS Partnership Guide Team. She serves on the Board of Directors for the National Diaper Bank Network, serving as its first president. She is a member of the New Haven Early Childhood Council and the Steering Committees for the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance and the Connecticut Alliance for Basic Human Needs. She holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work with a concentration in Policy Practice and a BA in Social Work from Saint Joseph College.

Janice Currier-Ezepchick, LCSW works as the Area Director for the New Haven Office of the State of CT Department of Children and Families, a site for the Zero to Three Safe Babies Court Team. The Safe Babies Court Teams Project is focused on increasing awareness among all those who work with maltreated infants and toddlers about the negative impact of abuse and neglect on very young children, and changing local systems and practices to improve outcomes for very young children in foster care. Prior to working for DCF, she was a Clinical Coordinator for Yale Child Study's Family Support Services, supervising multiple home based initiatives within the New Haven area serving the needs of vulnerable families. These projects included Minding the Baby for first time mothers, CIWI for substance abusing women of newborns, and Homeward Bound for chronically homeless families.

Karen DuBois-Walton, Ph.D., currently serves as the Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the City of New Haven and is responsible for administrative, programmatic and policy direction of the public housing, housing choice voucher program, finance and planning and development activities. She has guided HANH in a journey of personal and professional commitment to the health of families, and views the hosting of MOMS Partnership groups as keeping with their mission and values, including the promotion of housing choice for low-income families, the promotion of individual and family self-sufficiency, and service provision within a measurably cost-effective and efficient manner. Karen is committed to establishing communities that support families through developmentally informed and community-based interventions. Prior to assuming her positions with the Housing Authority and the City of New Haven, she served in positions with the State of Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and Yale University Child Study Center. Dr. DuBois-Walton is herself a mother residing in New Haven, and is actively engaged in community service through the Bethel A.M.E. Church, the New Haven Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Greater New Haven Branch of the NAACP, and several non-profit boards. In 2011 she was named one of the "100 Most Influential Blacks in Connecticut" by the CT State Conference of the NAACP.

Alice M. Forrester, PhD, is the Executive Director for Clifford Beers Clinic. Dr. Forrester has been at Clifford Beers Clinic for 15 years; she began her tenure there as a Pre-Doctoral Intern in Psychology and became Executive Director five years ago. She was Project Director for the Clinic’s National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Level 3 grant from SAMHSA, and founded the Wessel Trauma Center at Clifford Beers in 2005. Dr. Forrester’s leadership since joining Beers has been to create programming that addressed and reduced the impact of toxic stress in children and their families. Clifford Beers has integrated a full trauma assessment at intake for all children, parent support and wrap around care for victims of violence, implemented evidenced based practices such as Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and has hosted a National Trauma Conference for the last five years - “Healing the Generations.” Most recently, Dr. Forrester has been the principal lead on a Breakthrough Collaborative to create a “Wellness Center for Chronically Stressed Families” that will provide trauma informed integrated primary and mental health care for the whole family. Additionally, Dr. Forrester contributed to the development of the Stress Management curriculum provided to MOMS in the Housing Authority sites, and co-led the initial pilot groups. Alice has been a member of the MOMS Partnership since its inception.

Joanne Samuel Goldblum, MSW is the Executive Director of The National Diaper Bank Network. Joanne is the founder The Diaper Bank of Connecticut, formerly The New Haven Diaper Bank, where she served as the Executive Director from 2004- until 2010. The Diaper Bank distributes free diapers to needy families through a network of social service agencies, churches and educational institutions in New Haven, Hartford, Fairfield, Middlesex and Windham Counties. She also worked as a clinical faculty member at Yale Child Study Center Family Support Service from 1998-2005. Goldblum was chosen as a 2007 Robert Wood Johnson Community Health Leader for her work and in the same year was named the New Haven Register’s Person of the Year. Goldblum served as Co-Chair of the Connecticut Parents with Cognitive Limitations Workgroup from 2004-2011. She is a board member at Edith B. Jackson Childcare Center and the Foote School, both in New Haven. She served on New Haven's Early Childhood Council from 2008-2012 as the chair of the parent engagement committee and also served on New Haven's Homeless Commission as the Vice President from 2004-2010. Goldblum is herself a mother residing in New Haven.

Kenn Harris, LMin, serves as the Project Director, New Haven Healthy Start, The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. New Haven Healthy Start is a nationally renowned, community-based initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration that helps pregnant women and mothers deliver healthy and happy babies. Health Start’s primary goal is to reduce the infant mortality and morbidity rate in the city of New Haven, Connecticut. Mr. Harris has worked professionally in the maternal and child health field for over 20 years, and is passionate about ameliorating racial and ethnic disparities in health, both locally and nationally. He has strived for creative methods of community engagement, empowering the drive and creativity of his community involving both community/grassroots level and academic/medical levels. He helped design and implement a New Haven “Adopt-a-Doc” program which paired hospital residents with community health workers. He chairs the Social Marketing Committee of the New Haven MOMS Partnership.

Megan V. Smith, MPH, DrPH, is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Child Study and Public Health at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Smith conducts clinical and community-partnered research in the area of maternal and child mental health and racial, ethnic and gender-based disparities in mental health and illness and teaches in the Yale School of Public Health. Dr. Smith serves on the Mood Disorders Literature Review Subgroup, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) of the Gender/Cross Cultural Study Group, the State of Connecticut Maternal and Child Health Advisory Committee and is the Principal Investigator and Executive Director of the MOMS Partnership, a community-academic collaboration to create citywide systems for low-income mothers and their children in New Haven, Connecticut. She is a current recipient of a Building Interdisciplinary Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) career award from the National Institute of Health, Office of Research on Women’s Health and Young Investigator Awards from the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression and the North American Society for Psychosocial Obstetrics & Gynecology. Dr. Smith also serves as a board member of the National Diaper Bank Network and co-chairs the Yale School of Medicine Program on the Psychobiology of Parenting and Partnerships.

In Memoriam

We honor here our dear colleague, Maria Damiani, who passed in 2017 and whose service still inspired those of us lucky enough to have worked with her.

Maria Damiani, MS, served as the Director of the Maternal, Child and Family Health Division at the City of New Haven Health Department and had been employed by the City of New Haven from 1995 to 2017. At the time of her passing, she was managing a department that includes State and Federal Healthy Start programs, South Central Connecticut’s Regional HUSKY Insurance program for uninsured pregnant women and their families, the Nurturing Families Network Home Visitation program, a Fathering initiative and Pediatric Immunization Outreach. During her tenure with the City, she coordinated the Mayor's Task Force on AIDS, served as the Director of various special projects including the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS Program (HOPWA), New Haven's Homeless and Special Needs Housing services, the City’s Emergency Management Task Force and as the Director of the Office of Women’s Health. In addition, Ms. Damiani had been the principal investigator for two federally supported perinatal research initiatives: the Fetal and Infant Mortality Review (FIMR) and the Perinatal Periods of Risk Practice Collaborative (PPOR). She had served as a policy advisor to both the Mayor and the Director of Health and was an active member of various university and community advisory boards and commissions. Ms. Damiani held Bachelor's degrees in Education and Business Administration and earned a Master of Science in Urban Policy and Planning.