More Than $33,000 Awarded To Help Northern Michigan Women Stop Smoking While Pregnant

More than $33,000 will help local hospitals, health departments and more combat smoking during pregnancy here in Northern Michigan.

The March of Dimes grant has already been put to work to begin a training program for more than 20 Northern Michigan counties.

Megan Woods has more details on this program and how it will help give babies a better start.

“Our rate is higher than our state average.”

Munson Healthcare says 29 percent of pregnant women in Northern Michigan smoke during pregnancy, that’s higher than the state average of 19 percent for overall smokers. It’s a rate local health care providers can’t bear to work with anymore.

Mary Schubert, Women’s and Children’s Services at Munson Healthcare’s Executive Director says, “It’s really too high and we really have to help understand what is the drive behind it, how can we work together as communities all across Northern Michigan to help.”

A $33,735 grant was awarded to the Northern Michigan Perinatal Collaborative Network’s new program and they’ve already started training.

Schubert says, “What we’ll do next is take the money that we’ve been given from March of Dimes and use that to offer classes and offer the smoking cessation program to all of our providers throughout Northern Michigan. Our goal is by December to have 400 providers trained in this smoking cessation.”

And with seven health departments and nine hospitals covering 21 counties on the same page the network hopes to see a drop in rates.

Jenifer Murray, a public health consultant for JMH Consulting says, “You really can’t tackle this alone. People move across the region, they see a variety of providers so that’s why that consistent messaging is so important because we are a big geographic region.”

The network also hopes this is also a start for healthier babies.

Schubert says, “There’s no judgment involved, we really want them to feel cared for and that’s really what our goal is so that their baby can have the healthiest start possible.”

This grant is part of a multi-year grant and the network asked March of Dimes to consider them next year to focus on smoking in between births. 

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