Innovative UHF Partnerships for Early Child Development Program Helped Pediatricians Address Social Needs of 1,500 NY Families Over Past Year

“Before implementing PECD, families at our clinic would approach our front desk asking for winter coats for their children, and our staff would try their best to help. In two years, we have created a system where we are proactively asking our families what they need and have processes in place to get them help.”—physician participant, Phase 2

NEW YORK, NY—January 23, 2020—Over the past year, pediatricians and community-based organizations participating in an innovative United Hospital Fund (UHF) program helped more than 1,500 New York families connect with services to address unmet basic needs, such as food insecurity and lack of heating that can affect the long-term health of children, according to a UHF report released today. 

Under UHF’s Partnerships for Early Childhood Development (PECD) initiative, launched in 2017, pediatricians affiliated with eight hospital systems partner with community-based organizations go beyond medical care and address individual social needs and the broader social determinants of health that influence the health and well-being of young children, such as food insecurity, child care needs, and lack of secure and safe housing. The new report, an update of Year 2 of PECD, identifies the top five social needs of the screened families as housing (including help with utilities), food insecurity, adult education, transportation, and child care. 

Since the start of the program, over 12,000 families have been screened for these social factors, with 8,400 screenings during the second year. The report reveals that of those 8,400, 46 percent demonstrated at least one social need. Physicians in the program referred more than 2,000 of these families to participating community-based partners for interventions to address those needs, while another 500 families received other forms of support.

“We started PECD to address those factors outside the clinic walls that can adversely affect a child’s health and educational attainment,” said Suzanne Brundage, director of UHF’s Children’s Health Initiative and author of the Phase 2 report. “Over the first two years of the project, the primary care teams and their community partners have learned much about how to create and sustain a system of care for families that can truly make a meaningful, long-term positive impact on the lives of children.”

UHF just launched the third and final phase of PECD, with the same participants. Funding for PECD is provided by UHF along with The New York Community Trust, the Altman Foundation, and the William J. and Dorothy K. O’Neill Foundation.

The new report, Partnerships for Early Childhood Development: Year 2 Update, can be downloaded from UHF’s website. A report on the first year of PECD, Clinical-Community Partnerships for Better Health: Observations from New York City’s Partnerships for Early Childhood Development Initiative, can also be downloaded. 

Phase II partnerships

•    BronxCare Health System with Phipps Neighborhoods and Claremont Neighborhood Center
•    Cohen Children’s Medical Center (Northwell Health) with The Child Center of NY and Interfaith Nutrition Network
•    NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur with Educational Alliance, Grand St. Settlement, Henry Street Settlement, and University Settlement
•    Mount Sinai Health System with New York Common Pantry and LSA Family Health Service, and Children’s Aid
•    NewYork-Presbyterian/Charles B. Rangel Community Health Center with Northern Manhattan Perinatal Partnership
•    NewYork-Presbyterian Queens with Public Health Solutions
•    St. John’s Episcopal Hospital with Sheltering Arms and Family Resource Center Queens
•    NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn with Family Health Centers at NYU Langone Brooklyn and OHEL Children’s Home and Family Services

About United Hospital Fund
United Hospital Fund works to build a more effective health care system for every New Yorker. An independent, nonprofit organization, we analyze public policy to inform decision-makers, find common ground among diverse stakeholders, and develop and support innovative programs that improve the quality, accessibility, affordability, and experience of patient care. For more on our initiatives and programs please visit our website at and follow us on Twitter.