April 2015


The New Online Version of ECS Today!


Welcome to the brand-new online version of ECS Today!

This one is easily viewed in your in box, whether you're scrolling on your phone or sitting at your computer. Everything you need is just a click away:
  • Stories about ECS achievements, plans and special events
  • Program Notes, complete with staff news and links to helpful resources
  • Our popular Quick Takes feature 
  • A link to a PDF version, for those who like to print and post

This newsletter is just one way we at central staff are working to communicate effectively with our home visitors, agency leaders and other ECS friends. It is all part of our commitment to keep you informed, and connect the ECS family in colorful, engaging ways. As always, if you have any questions about ECS Today, story ideas or suggestions, please contact Margaret Clark.


Happy reading!


My life has changed for the better thanks to the ECS program. Thank you!!" 

- ECS mom, in the client satisfaction survey


Also In This Issue

Tell us what you think... What do you like about ECS Today? What can we do better? Is there a story you'd like to see? We want reading ECS Today to be an interesting and useful experience. Your input matters! Share your feedback with Margaret Clark by  email.

View a PDF version of this newsletter HERE

StartStrong Expands to Include Families in Price Hill

Thanks in part to its success in Avondale, StartStrong is expanding to Price Hill, another Cincinnati community with a high rate of preterm births. StartStrong is a joint initiative of Cincinnati Children's, Every Child Succeeds, TriHealth and the University

of Cincinnati that launched last year in Avondale. The goal is to lower premature birth rates and reduce emergency department usage.


StartStrong recently hired two new home visitors for the Price Hill expansion - Lindsay Meyer and Julie Tucker-Sullivan - and began accepting referrals in March. The goal is to enroll between 30 and 34 active families. 


Demographic data show that Price Hill is in great need of the type of focused intervention that home visits provide. In fact, in 2009-11, 13% of babies born in Price Hill were premature (this compares to 16% in Avondale).


Target Communities

Total Population

Women ages 15-44

Average Annual Births 2009-11

Avg. Annual Preterm Births 2009-11






Price Hill











StartStrong will work closely with other organizations that already serve families in Price Hill. "We hope to build on the existing moms groups ECS has been supporting through Best Babies Zone, and have reached out to the Price Hill Health Center and Santa Maria as well," says Emilie Meyer, StartStrong home visiting supervisor. "We will have the opportunity to learn from them in order to build better relationships and connections."


Referrals can be made by anyone (self referral, medical provider, community member, etc.) To be eligible, women must:

  • Live in 45229, 45204 or 45205
  • Currently be pregnant (the earlier the better) and have at least one other child
  • Be interested in weekly home visits from referral until baby is six months old

Questions about StartStrong? Contact Emilie Meyer.


Beth and Lanika celebrate the
arrival of the twins.

Physician, ECS Family 

Make a Connection

A chance encounter at the 7H Family Strong Dinner sponsored by StartStrong in February led to a more relaxed delivery room for one ECS family. The story relates to home visitor Beth Heeter (SS), who attended the dinner and sat with the mom, Lanika, who was pregnant with twins. Also at the table were Dejuan, the twins' father, and Mike Marcotte, MD, a local ob/gyn. Dr. Marcotte struck up a friendly conversation with Lanika and Dejuan about their plans to deliver at Good Samaritan. When Lanika delivered at 36 weeks, Dr. Marcotte happened to be in the delivery room, assisting a resident with the birth! He later told Beth that his presence seemed to put Lanika at ease, and he felt more connected to Lanika because of their previous interaction. In fact, he is hoping to join Beth for a home visit with this family soon! 

Introducing the Two New StartStrong 
Home Visitors!
Lindsay (left) and Julie
ECS welcomes Julie Tucker-Sullivan and Lindsay Meyer to the StartStrong  staff. They joined StartStrong earlier this Spring.


Julie, a Nebraska native, has lived in Cincinnati since her freshman year at UC. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in sociology, she began her career in mental health, for many years working in the community setting. In 2014 she worked at Cincinnati Children's as a mental health specialist.


Julie says her background in mental health allows her to connect with different types of people and accept them for who they are. "I'm excited to start meeting with moms in Price Hill, and putting them in touch with different services that might help them be more successful," Julie says. "I want to help them overcome barriers, whether that means educating them about good nutrition or helping them discover new parenting strategies."


Julie's caseload is sure to include Spanish speakers, and she admits to being a little rusty (don't tell her high school Spanish teacher!) She is brushing up with the help of Duolingo, which offers free online language instruction.


Julie and her husband, Chris, grounds manager at Spring Grove Cemetery, have three teenagers. They enjoy live concerts-this summer, the couple is going to Chicago with friends for the Grateful Dead's 50th reunion concert!


Lindsay Meyer taught preschool for the last five years. But in August 2015, she and her husband, Tony, experienced a major life event: they adopted a newborn! After returning home from Mississippi with baby Caleb, she took several months off to care for him. When the time came to return to the workforce, Lindsay learned about the position with StartStrong from a friend, and the rest is history.


"I loved being in the preschool setting, but it didn't give me an opportunity to focus on different family situations like being a home visitor does," she says. "I shadowed two StartStrong home visitors in Avondale during my first couple of weeks on staff, and it was so refreshing to meet mom and baby in the home. I am really excited to dive in, get more referrals and work with families!"


Lindsay comes to StartStrong with some experience working with at-risk families. For many years, she has volunteered with the Independence School District in Covington, Ky., where her mother is an elementary school principal.


Lindsay is from Cincinnati and attended the School for the Creative and Performing Arts before going to the University of Louisville to earn a bachelor's degree in early childhood education. She speaks fluent French, thanks to spending a high school semester in France.


Tony is an auto body specialist and enjoys fixing up cars. The Meyers spends their diminishing free time at car shows and family get-togethers.

Program Notes

Please tell families to ignore the April 24 due date for the client satisfaction surveys ... there is no deadline for submission. Thank you!


Welcome to new home visitors Lyndsay Brown (BA) and Jasma Warner (SM).


Congratulations to the following ECS staff celebrating anniversaries in April. 16 years: Lois Bradford (STE), Judy Brown (BC), Margaret Clark (ECS); 14 years: Connie Wolfe (YF); 12 years: Valerie Calloway (YF); 8 years: DeeAnn Pennington (ECS), Heidi Sullivan (LPS); 7 years: Catherine Jarvis (BA), Maria Tenjo (BC), Sarah Barnett (BCESC); 3 years: Lauren Dankhoff (BCESC), Erica Thomas (BCESC); and 1 year: Michelle Woods (BC). Many thanks for all the good work you do!


A fond farewell to nurse home visitor Cathea Poland (STE), who is retiring after 10? years with the ECS team at STE.

Congratulations to BCESC home visitor Stacie Miller and her family, who adopted Alana Joy, born April 4.


Congratulations to Melanie Nelson, supervisor at Brighton Center, winner of last month's Social Worker Raffle Drawing. She won a gift card!

Let your families know about these upcoming community events, which will feature fun activities for children, healthy snacks, important health information - and the opportunity to win prizes! Both are sponsored by UnitedHealthcare.

  • Community Baby Shower on May 2 from noon to 3 p.m. Location: Riverview East Health Center, 3555 Kellogg Ave. Questions? Call 513-363-3476
  • Community Health Fair on May 16 from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. Wesley Education Center, 525 Hale Ave. RSVP: 513-754-1724

In case you missed it... On April 14, the U.S. Senate passed legislation to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate. This bill includes a two-year extension of the Maternal Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program! The vote was 92-8, and the bill is now headed to President Obama to be signed into law. Children's Home is the provider for the ECS MIECHV program, serving 50 non-first-time moms.


Let your high school-aged moms know that they can take a three-credit class this summer through Cincinnati State Technical Community College's new "3 and a Book" program. The offer comes with a free textbook and a waiver for any fees, up to a total value of $650 per participant. It's open to high school students, including incoming freshman and 2015 graduates. Students must live in Hamilton, Butler, Clermont or Warren County. Fourteen-week sessions begin May 11; a 10-week session begins June 1. Click HERE or more information or call 513-569-1640.

Brighton Center Presents...QI Tips of the Month
Thanks to Brighton Center for these tips on infant nutrition!

The World Health Organization and UNICEF both recommend that for optimal infant health, babies begin breastfeeding within one hour of birth and through the first two years of life (PAT Nutrition and Breastfeeding Curriculum). Encourage your moms to place the baby skin-to-skin frequently. This has been shown to not only calm the baby and increase bonding and attachment, but also to encourage the baby to latch and initiate breastfeeding. Many of our local hospitals have practices to support skin-to-skin as soon as mom and baby are medically stable.


Do you have a successful strategy or tip that you would like to share with others?  Contact Julie Massie.

Anita Brentley


ECS Central Staff

ECS Role
Senior Specialist, Community Engagement

As a child, I thought of ways to make learning fun.

I am looking forward to  completing my PhD.

In my spare time, I love to  read and sing (what's free time?)

I never thought I would  drink a kale smoothie (yum!)

My favorite restaurant is 
Sugar and Spice. But I love to eat a home-cooked meal. My husband is a great cook!

Someone I really admire is all of my Community Liaisons- they are parents, leaders and advocates. They want the best for their children and are excited about learning new strategies to help them and others.

When I'm happy I 
make a point of telling others why. 
Mindy Heathcoat

Santa Maria 

ECS Role
Supervisor/Team Lead

As a child, I thought that running around outside in the grass without shoes was the best feeling ever. 

I am looking forward to  a vacation! I'm planning to go to South Africa in Sept.

In my spare time, I love to  play a lot of Legos...thanks to my 4-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter.  We also like taking the dog to the park. 

I never thought I would  not be in a classroom teaching! Funny how life turns out and plans change. 

Someone I really admire is positive people in general.  Sometimes I have a hard time seeing the glass as half full, but want to get better at that as I get older. 

My favorite restaurant is 
Chipotle. We eat there at least once a week!

When I'm happy I 
talk a lot and really fast!

Kirstin Fletcher

Brighton Center 

ECS Role 
Home Visitor 

As a child,  I thought I would own a horse of every color when I grew up.

I am looking forward to t

he high school graduation of my twin son and daughter in May.

In my spare time, I l ike to exercise and read. 
I never thought I would  love my job as much as I do!    

My favorite restaurant is 
O'Charley's...love their rolls & prime rib pasta!

Someone I really admire is 

my 86-year-old grandma. She has more spunk & energy than most half her age, a great sense of humor, and a big heart!  


When I'm happy I 
like to listen to upbeat music.


Vickie Rodgers

Young Families 

ECS Role
Administrative Assistant

As a child, I thought "I can't wait to grow up!
I am looking forward to going to Ireland! Hopefully for my 30th wedding anniversary. 

In my spare time, I love to spend time with my beautiful grandchildren. And do needlepoint. 
I never thought I would move out of northeastern Ohio. We moved to Kentucky eight years ago, and we love it here!    

My favorite restaurant is 
Unionville Tavern in Unionville, Ohio. My husband proposed to me there.

Someone I really admire is 

my mother. She faced many trials and obstacles in her life. She remained strong, and her faith in God never wavered. 


When I'm happy I 
whistle and hum!