The Ohio State University Nisonger Center LEND Trainees Address Health Disparities through Virtual Sessions for New Mothers

January 12, 2022

Moms2B, a community-based pregnancy program for low-income mothers in central Ohio, was established by The Ohio State University Medical Center in 2010 to decrease high infant mortality rates in the state and help mothers deliver healthy, full-term infants. This community-based program meets weekly throughout pregnancy and through the infant’s first year to provide education and support to moms. In-person meetings occur in a safe, familiar space where Moms can ask questions, receive education on infant development and reproductive health, and connect with local services.  
In 2020, faculty and trainees from Nisonger’s Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program collaborated with Moms2B to create BabyZoom, a virtual extension of the Moms2B program. BabyZoom was developed to provide additional support to Moms about their infant’s development through the first year of their child’s life. The Nisonger LEND BabyZoom team consisted of a physical therapist, occupational therapist and developmental behavioral fellow in the first year and two PT trainees in the second year with mentoring from PT and Psychology LEND faculty. 
The BabyZoom leadership project provided 50 virtual sessions each year with mother’s joining in each week based on their availability. The content of sessions is in part developed from feedback the moms provide. Attendance has grown during the 18 months of the program from 5-10 moms and babies to 20-25 moms and babies ranging in age from 1 day to 1 year old. 
Each hour-long session begins with a Mommy-and-Me music and movement led by a KinderMusik volunteer, followed by a brief educational presentation by a LEND trainee, on infant development such as reaching and grasp, tummy time, or cognitive play and development. The focus of each BabyZoom session is to facilitate mother-child bonding and play through group discussion. 
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