176067 Coming of the Blessing: A Perinatal Education Tool for American Indian and Alaska Native Families

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 10:45 AM

Carol Arnold, Phd, RN , Assistant Professor - School of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Plano, TX
Margaret Anne YellowKidney, RN , Blackfeet Early Childhood Center, East Glacier Park, MT
Janet Shephard, LMSW , West Region, March of Dimes, Dallas, TX
American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) have strong family and community bonds. There is a deep and profound respect for nature, life, ancestors, women and children. Pregnant women are considered special and are to be cared for by the family. Despite these healthy beliefs, and overall declines in morbidity and mortality, disparities in birth outcomes between American Indian/Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and non-Hispanic whites remain. Barriers to prenatal care for the AI/AN woman include transportation, access, poverty, family violence, fear of the health care system, a belief system that may clash with Western health beliefs, as well as perceived and real cultural insensitivity on the behalf of healthcare providers. Known risk factors for AI/AN women and pregnancy include poor nutrition, smoking, substance abuse, alcohol and domestic violence.

A new March of Dimes initiative is addressing disparities in birth outcomes for American Indian/Alaska Natives. A committee of primarily American Indian women representing 10 different tribes conducted focus groups with providers and patients, reviewed existing educational materials and evaluated a prenatal education project conducted on the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. They concluded that one comprehensive perinatal educational tool addressing the needs of multiple tribes was needed and worked for more than a year to create "The Coming of the Blessing". This comprehensive booklet is now used as a teaching tool in 13 states. Evaluation data is being collected from families and providers. Based on the evaluation, the booklet will be modified and more widely distributed.

Learning Objectives:
1)Identify disparities in birth outcomes for American Indian and Alaska Native families. 2) List barriers to prenatal care for American Indian and Alaska Native women. 3)Analyze results from focus groups and a prenatal education project on an Indian Reservation. 4) Describe the process used to develop a targeted perinatal educational tool for American Indian and Alaska Native families that engaged and empowered the target population.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am thevolunteer Chair of the March of Dimes Western Region American Indian/Alaska Native Subcommittee. We have been working for almost two years to develop the Coming of the Blessing. I am the principle investigator for the targeted prenatal education activites on the Wind River Indian Reservation. The Wind River Indian Reservation project begain in 1998. The evaluation from these activities along with evaluations from Oklahoma and the Cherokee Nation showed that approximately only 2% of materials currently used are culturally relevant to the unique needs of American Indian families. My research and dissertation centered around prenatal health care needs and issues for American Indian women. I have been working with this community since 1998. I have presented at various American Indian/Alaska Native conferences including the Annual American Indian/Alaska Native Women's Wellness Conference and the Annual Northwest American Indian Early Head Start conference.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.