206096 Improving Birth Outcomes among African-American Babies in Camden, NJ: A Collaboration with First Ladies of the Churches

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Valeria Cristales, MS, CHES , Camden Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies-Healthy Start, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, Camden, NJ
Marina James-Velardo , Camden Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies-Healthy Start, Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative, Camden, NJ
Camden, NJ, one of the five poorest cities of its size in the United States, had a black infant mortality rate of 16.0 in 2004. For families in a city challenged by poverty and high crime rates, AME, CME, Baptist and Pentecostal denominations of the black church are a vital source of hope and strength. The pastor's wife or “First Lady” in these churches has a significant and visible role as co-pastor and community advocate. In 2008-9, knowledge of the intricate role of the First Lady in the black church prompted Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies-Healthy Start to collaborate with a group of First Ladies to reduce infant mortality and improve birth outcomes. This initiative has enabled HMHB-HS to educate the faith community on various maternal and child health topics while supporting these lessons with passages from the Bible. The presenter will share this experience with participants who will learn how to 1.) develop an effective communication strategy to obtain the support of the First Ladies and faith leaders, 2.) collaborate on the development of lesson plans to include scriptures and other faith materials that support the health topics and 3) identify topics that contribute to high rates of black infant deaths such as the importance of early and regular prenatal care, poor diet and prevention of preterm birth. This presentation will illustrate how a community based coalition has partnered with the faith community to enhance efforts to meet the needs of mothers and babies in the City of Camden.

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of the session, the participants will be able to: 1. Identify two steps in developing a communication strategy to obtain initial support of the First Ladies. 2. List three challenges of collaborating with the faith community. 3. List three benefits of collaborating with the faith community. 4. Identify two strategies to assure responsive interaction with diverse denominations in the faith community.

Keywords: Faith Community, Health Education

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have carried out the program.
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.