April 2014 Associate of the Month
Caroline Ferrara, Healthy Beginnings Plus
Caroline Ferrara grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia and went to the University of Virginia. She earned a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Caroline initially thought she wanted to work with elderly adults, but after her first job as a social worker in the neonatal intensive care unit at Geisinger Medical Center, her passion turned more towards the beginning of life.
Caroline and husband, Joseph, moved to Doylestown in 1987. They had five children; Dominic, Peter, Marisa, Stephen and Gabe. By then, Caroline was committed to social work in maternal/child health and she became a volunteer with the March of Dimes.
Caroline and others realized there was a need for prenatal care for local mothers who needed financial assistance. The Healthy Beginnings Plus program was started at Doylestown Hospital in 1997. The program helps pregnant women who are uninsured or underinsured and includes prenatal care, education, delivery and postpartum checkup. Caroline came on board in 1998 as the social worker for the new program and has been with Healthy Beginnings ever since.
Caroline meets with every patient and helps them plan for baby, determines if there are any special risks and connects the women with needed resources available in the community. She develops a relationship with each mother over the course of the pregnancy. "It’s rewarding to see the growth of some of these women as they overcome certain issues and transform into loving mothers," she says. Over the years she has learned there are "so many generous people around" who are willing to help those in need.
According to Patient Care Manager Dianna White, RN, BSN, "Caroline has always gone out of her way, often on her own time, to assist our patients. Most recently she made numerous trips out to a new mom to deliver baby supplies that she collected. She also has been an awesome support for many of our Associates during difficult times."
Caroline works part-time as a transfer advisor at Bucks County Community College for students transferring to a four-year school. She does other volunteer work in the community, including assisting with the Bucks County Suicide Prevention Task Force. Caroline and her husband, Joseph, a family physician on staff at Doylestown Hospital, have also been involved with Our Lady of Mt. Carmel’s marriage preparation classes for the last 25 years. Over the years they’ve enjoyed renovating their 100+-year-old borough home.