Infants and their parents in Syracuse and Onondaga County are more likely to have health problems than the national average. County leaders are trying to find the best way to provide help and support.
Health Commissioner Dr. Indu Gupta today shared the annual State of Our Babies report at the Southwest Community Center. She says societal factors can be the main barrier to overcome.
"At the end of the day, poverty and economics impact health. So unless we address the cause, whether it's a pregnant women, or it's an older person or it's a baby, how we get access to care, whether they are getting vaccinated, whether they are getting to the right medical appointment."
The health of infants and families is one of Ryan McMahon’s priorities after recently taking over as County Executive.
"Right now, obviously, we're in a situation where we have segments of our population that are experiencing extreme poverty. Getting health care and services to those people, specifically our youngest and most vulnerable people, our little ones, is critical."
He hopes to form collaborations between government, private organizations, and academia to find the best solutions. Gupta explained the department’s Syracuse Healthy Start program. It relies on partnerships between many community groups and medical services to bridge the gaps for those struggling.
"They have significant high needs. The first thing in their mind is not to get to the doctor. A lot of other things are more important. So how our staff, or these community members who work with them to make sure they understand the needs and continue to be a regular support for them."
Gupta says even language can be a barrier, if mothers or other family don’t understand medical terms or doctors don’t understand the true needs of the patients. Health connections and other support for families are at onhealthyfamilies.com