Engaging the community to improve

children's health in Hampton Roads

The CINCH Story

Since its modest beginnings in 1993 with a little more than 30 members, CINCH has grown to include hundreds of members and continues to evolve to meet the needs of our community.  What began as a demonstration project that focused on a single health issue in one city later expanded to focus on several health issues affecting children, serving the entire Hampton Roads region.  Here is a brief story of our journey.

The "original CINCH" was called The Consortium for the Immunization of Norfolk's Children, which was birthed from ideas and conversations among child health leaders on how to improve immunization rates for children in Norfolk.  A grant from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention turned these ideas into reality, and CINCH held its first meeting on January 29, 1993 with 35 members to formally adopt its name, mission and goals and to select its leaders.  As one of the first community coalition projects in the country, this novel experiment in community empowerment and citizen participation proved to be successful in raising the immunization rates in Norfolk by 17% within two years.

Motivated by this initial success and with invaluable support from the Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters and Eastern Virginia Medical School, CINCH gradually expanded its focus to include the entire region and other health topics.  The name was later changed to The Consortium for Infant and Child Health to reflect this expanded focus which would go on to include topics such as obesity, asthma, injury prevention, health disparities, special needs, and health insurance coverage.  CINCH continually adjusts its focus to align with the current needs of the community and available resources; however, our primary aim remains the same - to bring community organizations together to better utilize our collective resources and develop effective community-based solutions to improve children's health in Hampton Roads.

Our History: Selected Highlights of Our Work

1997:  Report on the Health of Children in Hampton Roads - developed the region's first comprehensive report on the top ten health concerns in response to a Hampton Roads child health needs assessment.

1997: Vaccine Issues Update - Hampton Roads's first conference to keep physicians and health care workers up‐to-date on annual release of new immunization and safety rules.

2000: Report on the Health of Children in Hampton Roads 2nd Edition.  report was re‐released to provide important data for child‐related community organizations to support funding applications.

2001: Allies against Asthma - funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CINCH was one of 7 national pilot sites to improve community systems for management of pediatric asthma.

2003: Unintentional Injury - CDC funding enabled us to expand our focus to unintentional injury concentrating on beachfront injuries, playgrounds (resulted in 44 regional playgrounds improved), and car seat safety (reached over 40,000 families with preschoolers).

2004 - 2007: FAMIS - enrolled over 4,000 children and pregnant women into state‐sponsored child health insurance programs.

2004 - 2006: Community Obesity Summits - co‐sponsored 3 summits with Sentara and the American Heart Association with over 500 participants.

2005: Healthy Kids Kit for Food and Fitness (HKKFF) - developed with funding from Sentara Health Care to provide guidance to community agencies on how to implement and evaluate their health and nutrition programs.  Trained over 200 regional agencies in utilizing this kit.

2005: Annual Vaccine Issues Update - goes statewide and attendance grows 350%.

2005: Report on the Health of Children in Hampton Roads - 3rd Edition released. 

2006: Get Fit Hampton Roads - a partnership with local ABC‐ TV affiliate to educate the community on nutrition and activity to maintain healthy weight.  Resulted in 250 calls.

2007: Surviving Abundance: Overweight Kids in Crisis - a documentary produced in partnership with WHRO's Center for Regional Citizenship, which was nationally syndicated on the Public Broadcasting Network.

2009:  Asthma 101 - an American Lung Association program designed to provide basic information on asthma management.  CINCH members and students reached over 800 participants.

2009: BodyWorks - a nutrition and activity training program awarded by Virginia's CHAMPION grant for parents and caregivers of young teens.

2010: ACHIEVE - a national policy, systems and environmental change initiative funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through several national agencies to reduce obesity, prevent tobacco use and enhance community nutrition and physical activity efforts.  Led to the creation of Healthy Portsmouth - a city-wide health and wellness initiative in Portsmouth, VA.  CINCH also released a joint statement with the Virginia Asthma Coalition and the American Lung Association in opposition of the proposed ODEC Coal Plant in Surry, VA.

2012-2014: The Business Case For Breastfeeding, funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, focused on engaging businesses across the region to educate them on the benefits of promoting breastfeeding in the workplace and provide resources to support sustainable policy, environment, and systems changes.

2014 - 2018: Breastfeeding Friendly Childcare and Breastfeeding Welcome Here, funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth, focused on educating childcare providers on the importance of breastfeeding and creating a breastfeeding friendly environment in day cares as a means to encourage breastfeeding among mothers, as well as fostering breastfeeding friendly environments in over 100 businesses in Hampton Roads.

2017: CINCH acquired the federally funded Healthy Start/Loving Steps program, a multidisciplinary program which aims to reduce infant mortality rates by supporting mothers and families during pregnancy and 1 year post-partum. Services include home visits, screenings, referrals, and personal development opportunities as required by the family.

2018: Healthy Kids and Healthy Alternatives for Little Ones (HALO) - CINCH received two funding awards from Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth targeting nutrition/obesity prevention (Healthy Kids) and tobacco use prevention (HALO) in preschool age children. These programs will be implemented in day care and early learning centers in Hampton Roads for the next 2-3 years.


Awards and Recognition

1996:  Program Excellence Award, The Society for Public Health Education 

1996:  Whole Village Award, Virginia Education Association

2003:  Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Award, VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads

2005:  Children's Environmental Health Recognition Award, Environmental Protection Agency

2008:  Innovative Injury Prevention Award, Virginia Department of Health

2009:  Safe Harbor Award, Children's Harbor

2015: Healthcare Heroes: Corporate Achievements in Wellness Honoree, Inside Business and Bons Secours



 See our Initiatives page for more information our current priority health issues and projects.



What's Happening

Obesity Prevention Workgroup
Meets the second Wednesday of each month at 12:30pm

Respiratory Health Workgroup
Meets the third Wednesday of each month from 9-10:30 am

Healthy Start/Healthy Families Workgroup
Meets the third Wednesday of each month at 1:30 pm


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The CINCH Story Staff Coalition Leaders Annual Reports
Access to Care Breastfeeding HALO Healthy HR Healthy Kids Healthy Start Obesity Prevention Respiratory Health
Press Coverage Newsletters
Online Education and Training Other Recommended Tools
New Member Information