First 1,000 Days Suncoast Initiative Powered by Unite Us Increases Access to Vital Support Services by 89%, Leading to 54% Reduction in Stress for Families in Need

New evaluation highlights an average increase of four mentally healthy days per month for expecting parents and families with young children in Southwest Florida who engaged with the partner-driven program.

May 15, 2024 9:00 AM EDT | Source: Unite USA Inc.

Sarasota County, Florida--(Newsfile Corp. - May 15, 2024) - First 1,000 Days Suncoast, Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, and Unite Us, the nation's trusted technology partner for social care transformation, announced a new impact evaluation demonstrating the Family Navigation partnership between the First 1,000 Days Suncoast initiative and Unite Us has improved access to essential supportive services for families and children in Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto counties by 89%. The evaluation resulted in statistically significant improvements in stress levels and mental health for parents, allowing them to focus on their most important role-caring for their families.

Using the Unite Us platform to drive the First 1,000 Days network, the navigation program has addressed critical needs ranging from individual and family support to mental and behavioral health services, averaging more than three social care referrals per client. Preliminary findings of the evaluation include:

  • Parents reported an 89% improvement in their knowledge and awareness of concrete support, as well as a 35% increase in perceived access to social support during times of need.
  • Importantly, the statistically significant 54% reduction in perceived stress levels after 60 days and the average increase in mentally healthy days by four days per month signify tangible improvements in mental health outcomes.
  • Impressively, 79% of referred cases were accepted by receiving organizations, with 63% ultimately closed as resolved, showcasing the program's efficacy in meeting the needs of parents in the community.
  • Leveraging insights from a 2022 study, it is estimated that the program's interventions could potentially lower medical costs for participants by $32 per month, highlighting the far-reaching benefits of prioritizing mental health and well-being.

The First 1,000 Days Suncoast initiative unites more than 90 partner organizations all with a shared mission to support and connect families with resources during pregnancy throughout a child's first 1,000 days and, is generously funded by local foundations and individual donors.

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System was designated as the backbone agency, supporting its strategy and operations. With difficulty navigating the community's network of resources as a top barrier to care, First 1,000 Days spearheaded a navigation program to provide a vital lifeline for expecting parents and families with young children in the community.

"Through the First 1,000 Days initiative, we've witnessed the transformative power of compassion and collaboration," said Pam Beitlich, Executive Director of Sarasota Memorial's Women and Children's Services. "By providing seamless access to vital resources and unwavering support, we've not only improved the lives of countless new mothers and their children but also strengthened the very fabric of our community. Every milestone reached, every stress alleviated, and every healthy day gained is a testament to our collective commitment to nurturing the foundation of our future generations. Together, we're not just shaping lives-we're building a legacy of resilience, compassion, and hope."

This pioneering initiative operates seamlessly using Unite Us technology to streamline self-referrals or provider-initiated screenings for Health-Related Social Needs (HRSNs), the non-medical factors that impact a person's health. This is facilitated through a coordinated care network of more than 200 community health and social service agencies. Along with a Family Nurse Navigator, Unite Us' closed-loop referral platform plays a key role, enabling providers to identify HRSNs and connect individuals with local resources for support and track the progress of those referrals.

For parent Alysa Falk, a mother of three, being connected to First 1,000 Days Suncoast helped her deal with postpartum depression and other mental health challenges. Building a community with other mothers and families also helped her find a support system she didn't previously have.

"It was a sense of feeling alone," said Falk. "First 1,000 Days Suncoast helped me find others who were struggling with similar challenges. We all know it takes a village to raise a child, so it was very refreshing."

The impact of the First 1,000 Days Family Navigation program was evaluated through a mixed methods approach, focusing on key outcomes including social needs identification and resolution, client-reported changes in concrete and social support, perceived stress, and healthy days.

"We're proud to partner with First 1,000 Days Suncoast to streamline referrals and foster collaboration among service providers," said Dr. Amanda Terry, Senior Director of Research and Evaluation at Unite Us. "Through our innovative, community-led partnership, we're transforming social care delivery and creating pathways to a brighter, healthier future for families during the critical early stages of life. These results underscore the profound impact of enhanced social and concrete supports on parenting outcomes and overall well-being. This program improves individual lives and contributes to the broader health and resilience of the community."

As the First 1,000 Days Suncoast initiative continues to evolve and expand its reach, fueled by impactful partnerships and unwavering community support, it reaffirms its commitment to nurturing thriving families and laying the foundation for a brighter future for families in Southwest Florida.

"First 1,000 Days is successful due to the partnerships we have in our community. Agencies are responding to referrals, learning from the data and lived experiences of families, and building programs to fill gaps in services. These actions and initial navigation outcomes inspire us to continually seek ways to improve and expand our support for families" remarked Dr. Chelsea Arnold, First 1,000 Days initiative manager. "We are just getting started and look forward to watching the initiative continue to grow and flourish."

For more information about the First 1,000 Days Suncoast initiative and its Family Navigation program, please visit

About Unite Us

Unite Us is the nation's premier technology provider for advancing social care outcomes. Our advanced product suite streamlines processes and fosters collaboration across government, healthcare, health plans, and community-based organizations to address social drivers of health by facilitating social care services, intervention programs, and Medicaid reimbursements. The first of its kind, our closed-loop referral platform now integrates more than 1M services and securely hosts the nation's largest network of non-profits committed to improving whole-person health one community at a time. Learn more at and LinkedIn.

About First 1,000 Days Suncoast

First 1,000 Days Suncoast is a tri-county initiative comprised of 90 partner organizations supporting families and babies by connecting them with resources and tools through a large and comprehensive network. Through collaboration with community professionals and parents, the initiative identifies the most pervasive barriers to care for families and develops innovative solutions. To spread awareness about the initiative and its services, parents can access

About Sarasota Memorial Health Care System

Sarasota Memorial Health Care System is a regional health system offering Southwest Florida's greatest breadth and depth of care, with more than 10,000 employees and 1.5 million patient visits each year across its two hospital campuses, freestanding ER, skilled nursing and rehabilitation center, cancer institute, behavioral health pavilion and regional network of outpatient/urgent care centers and physician practices. Learn more at

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Media Contacts
Unite Us
Jaquetta Gooden
(808) 485-9086

First 1,000 Days Suncoast
Joseph S. Grano, Jr.
(941) 544-2765

To view the source version of this press release, please visit