196133 A Qualitative Process Evaluation of Family Health Advocacy: Opportunities and Challenges for Psychosocial Intervention with Pregnant and Parenting Rural African American Women

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 2:30 PM

Tiffany D. Sanders Baffour, PhD , School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD
This research utilizes a “critical best practice approach” (Ferguson, 2003). This approach seeks to examine systems and practice competencies that are deemed most effective through the feedback of a range of stakeholders including participants and indigenous health workers who construct effective practice with the target population. Family Health Advocacy (FHA), provided by community health workers, utilizes empowerment strategies to provide education and social support to reduce risk factors for poor pregnancy outcomes such as infant mortality, low birth weight and prematurity. This study utilizes qualitative process evaluation to examine the impact of a FHA intervention on African American women ages 14-35 living in a rural southern community. The aim of the project is to ascertain the impact of the intervention upon (1) participants' level of knowledge regarding poor pregnancy outcomes (2) lifestyle changes concerning the health and well-being of participants and their families and (3) assess barriers and opportunities for program improvement. Eight focus groups were conducted utilizing a purposive sample of program graduates (n=45). Participants' indicated increased knowledge about their health, mental health status and management of family relationships with children and significant others. Behavioral change was noted in the area of increased exercise, diet management and family relationships. Interventions such as FHA provide social workers, nurses and other helping professionals with opportunities, through interdisciplinary collaboration, to work with high-risk clients who may be difficult to access due to geographic or social isolation. Implications for health literacy programs and social justice are discussed.

Learning Objectives:
(1) To define a critical best practice approach and describe how it can be utilized in research and more broadly, in professional practice when applicable; (2) To describe how knowledge of risk factors impacts poor pregnancy outcomes; (3) To discuss how improved health literacy impacts client decision-making and behavioral outcomes; (3) To describe research findings in the context of evidence-based practice and their application for practice and program improvement. (4) To identify characteristics of social inequity experienced by pregnant and parenting women and how they may impact their response to health promotion interventions.

Keywords: Health Promotion, African American

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Tiffany Sanders Baffour received her Ph.D. in Social Work from Howard University in 2003. Additionally, she completed a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Delaware with an emphasis on issues of race, gender and crime; Master of Social Service Degree from Bryn Mawr College, specializing in practice with individuals, families and groups and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from New Jersey City University. Her areas of interest are mental health, health disparities and women’s issues. She serves as Assistant Professor at The University of Maryland, Baltimore County School of Social Work teaching courses on social policy and field education. As a former faculty member at Florida State, Dr.Baffour collected focus group data examining the impact of community health workers in reducing risk factors associated with poor pregnancy outcomes for rural African-American women. She is the author of numerous peer-reviewed articles, book chapters and referred presentations focusing on issues relevant to African American women, children and families. Her most recent publication is a forthcoming article in Families in Society titled "Rural hassles and coping mechanisms among pregnant and parenting African-American women" co-authored with Ruby Gourdine, Carlo Domingo and Katrina Boone.
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.