Hello Neighbor Health & Stabilization Supports team posing for an outdoor group photo

Health & Stabilization Supports

Supporting vulnerable refugees and immigrants with individualized and culturally responsive support to enhance their sense of stability and belonging in Pittsburgh. Emphasis on advocacy for and connection to culturally and linguistically appropriate care.

Young baby wrapped in blanket making eye contact with photographer/viewer of photo

Smart Start

This program was developed to serve at the intersection of refugee resettlement and birth work to provide culturally tailored intensive case management support for pregnant immigrants and refugees throughout their pregnancy and into the postpartum period.

We’ve served a total of 125 pregnant mom and baby pairs that together speak a total of 24 languages.

Smart Start was created and evolved to serve at the intersection of birth support and refugee resettlement in order to meet the unique perinatal needs of refugees and immigrants in the Pittsburgh area. Moving to a new country comes with challenges. In the U.S., birth culture can look and be very different from our families’ home cultures and birthing practices. It can be isolating, overwhelming, and/or confusing being pregnant in a foreign land. Compounding the difference are language barriers and separation from one’s culture and family can further contribute to feelings of isolation during pregnancy and postpartum.

Smart Start's primary services provided are:

  • Pregnancy and newborn care coordination, postpartum support, pregnancy and/or infant loss support as needed
  • Facilitating connections to community resources and support items needs for mom and baby
  • Working with the birthing person to create a comprehensive labor plan including planning for a doula, childcare, documentation preparation, and discharge assistance
  • Culturally-tailored perinatal education regardless of language capacity

Countries Served

Color coded world map with countries served by Smart Start in dark orange.

Who We Serve

Parent & Parent-Baby Pairs Served
Babies Born
Languages Spoken
Newborn in yellow blanket sleeping and touching their face
Two women embracing and smiling in doctor's office waiting area

Get Involved

Become a Smart Start Volunteer

Please register for one of our virtual or in-person information sessions.

Refer a pregnant refugee or immigrant

Send an email to Abby Jo Perez, Refugee Health and Stabilization Supervisor, with the pregnant person’s name, expected due date, language, address, and contact information. Please include any additional details that would assist our team in triaging and responding to the referral.

Contact: abbyjo@helloneighbor.io


Intensive Case Management 

Providing individualized case management to help especially vulnerable immigrants and refugees increase their individual or household stability.

Hello Neighbor team member smiling while talking on speaker phone

While most refugees achieve significant progress towards economic self-sufficiency through employment programs, the U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program also receives highly vulnerable individuals who require extra support for successful integration. For these individuals, the Preferred Communities program offers comprehensive case management to help them overcome challenges as they adapt to life in the United States and gain the skills to address difficulties independently. Hello Neighbor additionally offers intensive case management to vulnerable neighbors enrolled in our programs who may not be ORR-eligible.

Referral Information

Referrals accepted for ORR-eligible immigrants and refugees and can be emailed to Abby Jo Perez, Refugee Health and Stabilization Supervisor. Please include name, contact information, address, language, date of arrival, immigration status (if known).

Contact: abbyjo@helloneighbor.io