Smooth Way Home receives grant from Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Thanks to a new grant, fragile infants and their families in our community will receive much-needed assistance at a critical time in their lives.

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has announced its support for the Smooth Way Home program, a community-wide initiative aimed at meeting the needs of families and fragile infants as they return home from the newborn intensive care unit. Smooth Way Home promotes care coordination between hospital and community services; provides families with valuable resources; and offers specialized training to local professionals in the care of fragile infants.

“Implementing a comprehensive continuum of care from hospital to home for fragile infants and their families is a critical service,” said Ginger Ward, CEO of Southwest Human Development, the backbone agency for the Smooth Way Home program. “It’s closely aligned with our mission to provide early childhood services to children and families across the Valley. We are extremely grateful to Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust for recognizing the importance of this program and for helping us support those most vulnerable infants at a critical time for them and for their families.”

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust has awarded $496,000 over 36 months to the Smooth Way Home program to help fragile infants and their families. Funding for the past several years has been supported by Dignity Health, which remains an ongoing partner of the program.

According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, the premature birth rate in the United States was 9.6% in 2014.

“The impact of the Smooth Way Home program is tremendous,” said Trudi Murch, Ph.D., director of services for children with disabilities at Southwest Human Development. “Making early intervention and support services available as soon as possible, avoiding a gap in services, and assuring integrated and coordinated care all contribute to bringing about the best possible outcomes for children and families.”

The overall purpose of Smooth Way Home is to improve the social, developmental and medical outcomes of very fragile infants by enhancing the coordination of care and the quality of services provided to them as they transition from the newborn intensive care unit back to their home and community.

Southwest Human Development has played a leadership role in bringing together a wide range of community partners, including state agencies, community service providers, parent advocacy groups, hospital personnel, physicians and health insurance providers to address the needs of this very vulnerable population.

“The added benefits of this program are significant,” Murch said. “Community professionals and other providers who care for these fragile infants will have an opportunity to increase their skills and expertise in working with this population, hospitals and insurance companies will benefit from financial savings related to avoidance of costly hospital re-admissions and more effective early care, and school systems will experience cost savings related to reduced need for special education services once these children reach school age.”

About Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust

Virginia G. Piper Charitable Trust supports organizations that enrich health, well-being, and opportunity for the people of Maricopa County, Arizona. Since it began awarding grants in 2000, Piper Trust has invested more than $350 million in local nonprofits and programs. Piper Trust grantmaking areas are healthcare and medical research, children, older adults, arts and culture, education, and religious organizations. For more information, visit Follow us on Twitter @PiperTrust; visit us on Facebook. View Piper Trust’s FY14 Annual Report at:


Photo Credit: Sarah Hopkins