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Howard Crawford, Ph.D., and Lynn M. Matrisian, Ph.D., are studying molecular defects that affect invasive cancer. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Vanderbilt Center for Health Services presented Oscar van Leer Award for community program

BY: JON COOMER

8/10/2001 - Vanderbilt’s Center for Health Services has been awarded the Oscar van Leer Award for 2001. The award was presented for the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program.

The award is given once every two years to a project that is or has been supported by the Bernard van Leer Foundation “for excellence in enabling parents and communities to help young children realize their innate potential.”

Vanderbilt’s program supports local communities in developing, implementing, and evaluating a low-cost, home-based intervention aimed at improving health and child development for low-income families.

“We provide technical support, modest funding, and training for local parent leaders. Then we assist local community organizations in running the projects, but they really run the show,” said Barbara Clinton, director of the Center for Health Services. “In areas where medical services aren’t available, the MIHOW program demonstrates that local people can be extremely effective in enhancing children’s lives.”

Since 1982, MIHOW has improved family health and early child development for nearly 9,000 low-income families in Appalachia and the Mississippi Delta. Through home visits to pregnant women and families with young children, MIHOW workers promote healthy lifestyles and strong parenting skills.

“The Bernard van Leer Foundation told us that the impact of our program on children at the family, regional, and community level is extraordinarily powerful, but not widely known,” Clinton added. “They hope that this award inspires more communities in the U.S. and around the world to adopt MIHOW strategies which build on the premier resources of disadvantaged communities, local parents and local community organizations.”

Clinton will accept the award in The Hague on Nov. 19.

The Bernard van Leer Foundation is a private foundation founded in 1949 and based in The Netherlands. It operates internationally, concentrating its resources on early childhood development.

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