Staten Island’s Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) has been a community-focused hospital for over 100 years and now the hospital is taking its comprehensive clinical and behavioral health services to a new level with a program called Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health). Funded by a highly competitive five-year SAMHSA grant, Project LAUNCH addresses the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral needs of kids from birth to age 8, and aims to ensure that all children enter school ready to learn and able to succeed.
Project LAUNCH will improve coordination across local child-serving organizations and identify any service delivery gaps within those networks. It will also train providers in socio-emotional health and treat children and caregivers with a focus on strengthening their relationships and managing challenging behaviors. The Project LAUNCH team ensures routine delivery of the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale to new moms, and then directs any positive screenings to Project LAUNCH behavioral therapists for further consultation.
But there is another important component to Project LAUNCH— it allows RUMC to ensure that all North Shore residents have easy access to culturally competent and clinically appropriate mental health services. For example, RUMC will screen 5,000 people for mental health needs and provide mental health services to those in need. Community health workers have enrolled over 345 North Shore residents to date who have assisted with referrals and access to such items as food, clothing, housing, baby essentials—and they often provide more than just supplies. When one Spanish-speaking mom—who had been reluctant to ask for assistance for her newborn because of language barriers—enrolled in the program, she not only received diapers and baby food, but a Spanish-speaking local community health worker was able to encourage her to advocate for herself and seek out more resources in the community.
RUMC’s Project LAUNCH will also release a mobile unit—the first of its kind—which will deliver medical services directly to the community. The van will be staffed by a family nurse practitioner, a behavioral health therapist, a community health worker and an EMT. Using the van, the staff will complete wellness checks, provide medical education, screen for social determinant of health needs, and deliver behavioral health services.
The Project LAUNCH team also engages in community outreach and activities—such as cohosting and attending wellness fairs and promoting annual social media campaigns to increase awareness about medical or mental health risks. It is an ambitious project—and further proves that RUMC is continuing its commitment to providing culturally sensitive care to meet Staten Island’s diverse social, cultural, and linguistic needs.
For more information, contact Project LAUNCH program supervisor Danielle Bartolome at 718-442-2225 ext. 157 or [email protected]
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