The North Dakota Chapter of the March of Dimes (MOD) is pleased to announce that Cassie Skalicky has been named as its NICU Family Support Specialist. Skalicky will be based at the Essentia Health Fargo hospital campus, which offers the only March of Dimes NICU Family Support program in the state.
In conjunction with its national Prematurity Campaign, the March of Dimes had developed NICU Family Support program to provide information and comfort to families with a critically ill child in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
Guided by former NICU families, the program is built on a family-centered philosophy and is implemented nationwide through March of Dimes chapters. It addresses the needs of parents, siblings, grandparents and the extended family throughout the hospitalization, during the transition home and in the event of a newborn death. The program provides them with parent-to-parent support to families within the NICU setting, sensitive and engaging educational materials that introduce parents to the staff, equipment, procedures and conditions that they may encounter in the NICU, in addition to enhancing programs to better serve the specific needs of each NICU and the populations it supports. This includes support and preparation for those with high-risk pregnancies, information and support for siblings and the extended family, support for Spanish-speaking families, a photo keepsake program, easing the transition from NICU to home, and bereavement support. As the NICU Family Support Specialist, Skalicky will also serve NICU staff with professional development opportunities.
Skalicky graduated fromMinnesotaStateUniversity-Moorheadwith a BS in Psychology and a Masters in Public and Human Services and Health Administration. Skalicky’s own personal experience relates to how she became involved in the March of Dimes NICU Family Support program. She and her husband, Jason, have a nine-year old daughter named Grace and a three-year old son named Andrew. Andrew spent 137 days in the NICU and is a twin to their daughter, Natalie, who passed away 11 ½ hours after they were born at 23 weeks 3 days.
Skalicky is passionate about her family and enjoys playing the keyboard and singing in her church’s praise band, teaching Sunday school, and painting. Her works have been displayed at numerous coffee shops and wine bars in theFargoarea.
The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. With chapters nationwide, the March of Dimes works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth and infant mortality. For the latest resources and information, visit www.marchofdimes.com.