September Collaboratory - Beyond the NICU: Comprehensive Postnatal Support for Preterm Babies

Caring for a premature infant after they have been discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is no small task. Parents often report feeling unprepared and overwhelmed as now the sole caregiver for an especially fragile child. This can be further complicated for parents grappling with poverty-related stressors, violence, migration and other adverse experiences.

For our September Collaboratory we learned about the Special Start, a home visiting follow-up program that prioritizes the needs of the family with a premature infant. Laura Frame, Director of Research & Evaluation of Early Intervention Services at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland shared evaluation data from studying the special start program while Eeren Eren Berkenkotter, a Special Start case manager, shared her experience working as a home visitor. The true highlight of the evening, however, was when Monica Parran, a mother of a Special Start enrolled infant, explained the dramatic impact the program had upon her life and her family. Through poorly mannered doctors to racial microaggressions from nurses, Monica explained how her relationship with Eeren, her Special Start home visitor, helped her move forward from her difficult experiences within the healthcare system caring for a premature infant. You can watch the full Collaboratory here. 

"I was so ready to go home, but then when it was time, it was like, 'wait you aren't sending me home are you?' I was being pushed out of the nest and they made it very clear, 'don't call the NICU'. Special Start swooped in where the NICU left off." - Monica Parran, parent of a special start infant


Linda Franck, RN, PhD, FAAN - Professor, UCSF School of Family Health Care Nursing

Dawn Gano, MD, MAS - Assistant Professor, UCSF Department of Neurology


Laura Frame, LCSW, PhD | Director of Research & Evaluation, Early Intervention Services, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland

Eren Berkenkotter, PhD | Case Manager, Special Start Neonatal Follow Up Program, UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland

Monica Parran | Mother, Special Start Program Participant


Watch the full Collaboratory here.


See our Facebook Page for more photos from the event.