“Common Spirit Health is the largest health care provider in the United States, and they are a foundation that helped to create a private trust fund, after the St. Joseph Hospitals in New Mexico were sold,” said President Allen Sanchez. Sanchez said the trust fund was created to dedicate services in New Mexico and they spend $100 million annually in the state.

St. Joseph’s has extended its Catholic Health Initiatives, St. Joseph’s Children program, to include Torrance County. The free program is aimed at children prenatal to aged three, which are the most crucial years of brain development.

“The program is designed to support all families, regardless of income, religion, language, culture, age and for children of all levels of abilities,” Sanchez said.

Services can begin immediately after a family registers.

The program includes specialized curriculum for prenatal enrollment which is aimed to educate families about prenatal care, child development, health, nutrition and exercise.

The program also includes weekly home visits from nurses. They do a “baby wellness check” home visit following the birth of a baby. Parents choose the location and time.

According to Sanchez, the curriculum is tailored to each week of the life of the baby and encompasses four stages of development: First Born, Partners for a Healthy Baby, Green Environmental and Cancer Prevention.

The curriculum was developed by the State University of Florida, which is being used to offer guidance on how to monitor babies for normal growth and development.

The program also offers “communication support with primary care medical providers. The home visitors report to pediatricians and they also provide a list of up to five referrals for an average family, Sanchez said.

The program also offers support for “the best practices in breast feeding, immunizations, non-use of walkers, use of media using technology to support networking, teaching media literacy and introduction of babies to food.”

Sanchez also said that 93% of the moms in the program are breastfeeding for an average of over one year. The program also includes access to nutrition and breastfeeding specialists.

According to their website, the program also offers case management support to connect families to services like medical providers, medical and counseling services, food, housing, employment, returning to school, dental care, legal services, transportation, free or low-cost baby supplies and income support. Sanchez also said that they help families get enhanced referrals to programs like CYFD’s child care subsidy.

Sanchez said that “people have requested services in Torrance County and we already cover rural areas and seven other counties which include Bernalillo, Sandoval, Valencia, Cibola, Luna, Doña Ana and Chavez.”

For more information about CHI St. Joseph’s Children or to register, visit stjosephnm.org or call 505-924-8000.