Intermountain Healthcare and Intermountain Primary Children’s Hospital are introducing “Healthy Kids” – a comprehensive plan to help create communities that keep children healthy and safe – prompting a $10 million gift from community leader Crystal Maggelet and her family.
The extraordinary gift will help create a healthier future for children throughout the Intermountain West by supporting Intermountain’s “Primary Promise” to invest $500 million to create the nation’s model health system for children. The investment will be shared by Intermountain Healthcare and community philanthropic support through Intermountain Foundation’s emerging campaign.
A child’s wellbeing is significantly impacted by factors including a lack of education, racism, and food insecurity. These and other adverse childhood experiences put kids at risk for developing chronic health problems including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, mental illness, substance use disorder, and other health challenges later in life.
Addressing these risk factors early on gives children more opportunities to thrive and promotes a healthier community. Early interventions can significantly decrease incidents of infant mortality, developmental delays, substance use disorder, and the likelihood of encounters with the criminal justice system.
“Children rapidly develop capabilities in cognition, language, emotional growth and reasoning from birth to age five. When young children grow up in unhealthy environments it can impair their development and have a lasting effect on their ability to fulfill their potential,” said Neal Davis, MD, medical director of pediatric community-based care for Intermountain Healthcare. “The good news is that if we proactively address risk factors, kids have a better shot at long-term health and success.”
Intermountain and Primary Children’s are developing and continuing the following evidence-based “Healthy Kids” interventions to help kids thrive. This includes:
- Nurse-Family Partnership: Collaborating with the community organization that matches at-risk mothers with a visiting nurse and social service supports prenatally through the baby’s second birthday
- Addressing Adverse Childhood Experiences: Working with pediatricians, schools and community groups to screen kids for signs of serious stress and connect them to treatment
- Reach Out and Read: Promoting resilience by giving books at well-child checkups and modeling ways parents can read to their children, ages 6 months to 5 years
- Hold On to Dear Life: Educating families and kids about injury prevention, from car-seat safety to emotional wellness for young teens.
For Midvale resident Nindy Le, the Nurse-Family Partnership has been life-saving.
Le struggled in school and with the juvenile justice system after her mother died when she was 12 years old. Her father left when she was 15, and she became pregnant shortly afterward.
At a prenatal visit, Le’s doctor referred her to Nurse-Family Partnership, where Le met a nurse who changed her life. The nurse, Linda, came to Le’s home to teach her about pregnancy, child development, and parenting. Ultimately, the nurse became a mentor to Le during her son’s first two years of life.
“Even when I got involved with legal issues, I never felt like she was judging me,” Le said. “She was always willing to help me no matter what.”
The nurse inspired Le to graduate from high school and attend college. Le now has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Utah, and a certificate in criminology and corrections. She has used her experience and education to advocate for the needs of at-risk youth.
As for her son: Andy is now 12 years old and thriving.
“The impact of the Nurse-Family Partnership goes beyond just me. It affects my son as well, because I’m able to be a better mother to him,” Le said. “It affects future generations.”
Like Le and Andy, every child deserves an opportunity to get an education and experience a safe, carefree childhood, said Crystal Maggelet, chair and CEO of FJ Management Inc. and Intermountain Healthcare trustee.
“I’m a strong believer in education, and you have to start with healthy kids before you can educate them,” Maggelet said. “Intermountain’s model health system for children will help make sure all kids are given equal opportunities and are healthy before they start school.”
The model health system will feature program, research, and capital expansion, and bring together specialized pediatric caregivers from multiple Intermountain facilities and Primary Children’s pediatric partners at University of Utah Health. It will serve children in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Nevada, and Alaska.
“If we want to have the nation’s healthiest children and give them the best chance to thrive, we must get upstream of challenges – and when possible, prevent them from happening,” said Katy Welkie, RN, MBA, CEO of Primary Children’s Hospital and Vice President of Intermountain Children’s Health. “With the help of the community, and through the generosity of the Maggelet family, Intermountain and Primary Children’s are able to address these issues head-on.”
Additional efforts to encourage philanthropic support for Intermountain’s model health system for children are led by Crystal Maggelet and two other civic and community business leaders: Gail Miller, owner and board chair of Larry H. Miller Group of Companies and chair of the Intermountain Healthcare Board of Trustees; and Steve Lund, co-founder and executive board chair of Nu Skin Enterprises.
“This campaign to create a model health system for children already has seen a snowball effect of support,” Maggelet said. “People want to take care of each other and especially, children. People want to be part of this campaign and make a difference. Together, we can make huge strides to better the lives of children.”