Mount Sinai’s Teen Mom Program Celebrates 20 Years of Helping Teen Mothers

The Mount Sinai Medical Center celebrates the anniversary of Mothers of Mount Sinai, an education and support program for pregnant and parenting teens.

New York, NY
 – May 18, 2010 /Press Release/  –– 

The Mount Sinai Medical Center celebrates today the 20th anniversary of its Mothers of Mount Sinai (MOMS) program, an education and support program that has helped more than 250 pregnant and parenting teens complete their education, develop marketable job skills, find employment, and become confident and competent parents.

"I am very proud of the success the MOMS program has had over the last 20 years," said Andrea Rothenberg, MSW, Director, Department of Health Education, The Mount Sinai Medical Center. “We have seen so many uncertain young women turn into confident, independent moms, who are role models for their peers.”

The MOMS education and support program works with pregnant and parenting teens between the ages of 13 and 21. The group meets weekly and discusses a variety of topics, including attachment and bonding, developmental milestones, and the realities of motherhood.

Another element of MOMS is the Summer Employment and Training Program at Mount Sinai, which provides the mothers with an opportunity to have a structured work experience. Several teens coming from the MOMS program have begun successful careers at Mount Sinai because of this program, including Sumele Wilkie, a young mom in the program who also works in Mount Sinai’s Department of Nursing Education. "I am so grateful for the MOMS program. It taught me the confidence, responsibility, and strength I needed so I could be the best mother I could be."

In a spring 2009 survey of MOMS participants who participated in the Summer Employment and Training Program, nearly 84 percent were employed and only one remained on public assistance. More than 83 percent had completed some college, compared to only 10 percent of women in similar situations not involved in MOMS, and 33 percent completed college, compared to only three percent of teen moms in the general population.

"The East Harlem community, where teen pregnancy is higher than the overall teen pregnancy rate in New York City, is primarily served by Mount Sinai, putting us in a unique position to educate and support local teens to guide them through this difficult time in their lives,” said Ms. Rothenberg. “The data show that this program works. We look forward to 20 more years of helping these women flourish."

The anniversary of the program is marked with a reunion party for program participants, where mothers involved in the program will have the opportunity to gather with their peers and share how it has helped them. Singer/songwriter Celisse Henderson will provide entertainment, and attendees will view a recent segment featuring Sumele Wilkie with reporter Cat Greenleaf, of the show “Talk Stoop” On NY Nonstop and WNBC-TV Channel 4.

The United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancies and births of all developed countries. Each year, approximately 750,000 girls under the age of 20 become pregnant, and that number has recently been climbing. The MOMS program provides these women with a safe and supportive environment, with staff serving as important adult role models.

About The Mount Sinai Medical Center 

The Mount Sinai Medical Center encompasses both The Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Established in 1968, Mount Sinai School of Medicine is one of few medical schools embedded in a hospital in the United States. It has more than 3,400 faculty in 32 departments and 15 institutes, and ranks among the top 20 medical schools both in National Institute of Health funding and by U.S. News & World Report. The school received the 2009 Spencer Foreman Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Association of American Medical Colleges. 

The Mount Sinai Hospital, founded in 1852, is a 1,171-bed tertiary- and quaternary-care teaching facility and one of the nation’s oldest, largest and most-respected voluntary hospitals. In 2009, U.S. News & World Report ranked The Mount Sinai Hospital among the nation’s top 20 hospitals based on reputation, patient safety, and other patient-care factors. Nearly 60,000 people were treated at Mount Sinai as inpatients last year, and approximately 530,000 outpatient visits took place.

For more information, visit www.mountsinai.org.