COMBO Initiative Puts on a Play Date!

June 22, 2022
baby with bib

On a hot and sunny Sunday afternoon in May about 300 Washington Heights residents gathered at Haven Plaza to join the fun at the first Annual Playdate put on by Columbia’s COVID-19 Mother Baby Outcomes (COMBO) initiative. The community event was a celebration of the resilience of mothers who have given birth during the pandemic, a chance for them to meet other families and their babies, and an expression of the COMBO team’s gratitude to those who participated in research studies.

people getting trained in CPR

Attendees joined in outdoor games, arts and craft, face-painting, family photography, and more. Health-conscious sponsors, local businesses, and community-based organizations provided attendees with information and tools to promote maternal health and infant development. The COMBO team also offered first aid trainings, equipping community members with skills to effectively respond during emergencies. Thirty people were certified in CPR+AED, and many received Nalaxone training. The team also offered health screenings, and 40 people had their blood pressure assessed.

“COMBO's guiding principle is ‘Partnering with our community, for our community,’" says COMBO founder and chair, pediatrician Dani Dumitriu, MD, PhD. “This event was our first major effort to give back to our community.”

moms and kids at crafts table

The COMBO initiative was launched at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) in the spring of 2020 to rapidly gather information about the effects of the pandemic on new mothers and their babies. With more than 100 participating researchers and physicians spanning Columbia University’s schools and departments, the COMBO collaboration is investigating the impact of both COVID-19 infections and the pandemic on the developing fetus, future child health, and future maternal health. The team is looking at domains such as fetal growth, risk of child asthma, neurodevelopment, maternal mental health, and mother-infant bonding. More than 1,300 mother-baby pairs have generously donated their time to research about the potential long-term impact of COVID-19 on future generations.