240954 Ecocultural Family Interview Project, 2008-2011: Lessons learned

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Leah Jepson, MSW , Family & Community Health Division - Ecocultural Family Interview Project Manager, City of Milwaukee Health Department, Milwaukee, WI
The Ecocultural Family Interview (EFI) Project is a three-year research project embedded within Empowering Families of Milwaukee (EFM), a comprehensive home visitation program at the City of Milwaukee Health Department. Since its inception in 2006, EFM has demonstrated a significant decrease in instances of low birth weight and prematurity for babies born in the program. EFM instituted the EFI Project in 2008 to help better assess families' physical and mental health, social, and economic needs. The EFI Project used the Ecocultural Family Interview as an assessment tool, rather than utilizing traditional, multiple-choice assessment forms. The Ecocultural Family Interview is a strengths-based, guided conversation with families about their daily routine – how they plan, implement, and sustain family activities – and how this helps or hinders family functioning. Research has shown that the information revealed in a family's daily routine is what matters most in children's lives and serves as the best indicator of family functioning and well-being. Throughout the interviews, the researchers listened for the family's strengths, the resources and supports available to the family, any constraints or obstacles the family must live with, and how they problem-solve to overcome these challenges. The researchers hypothesized that, by asking these questions in this unique, open-ended manner, and asking the families to tell their stories in their own words, new information will be elicited. This information was then used to create better care plans, enhance service delivery, and served as a helpful tool for continuous quality improvement in the EFM program.

Learning Areas:
Administration, management, leadership
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
•Describe the improved birth and child outcomes achieved by this Milwaukee-based home visitation program; •Differentiate between the Ecocultural Family Interview and a more structured, fixed-answer assessment form; •Discuss how addressing family routines can uncover strengths and barriers that affect how a family meets their needs; •Identify common themes emerging in the EFI interviews; •Explain how the information uncovered in the Ecocultural Family Interviews can be used to implement change in family care planning and social service delivery; •Discuss the final outcomes of the EFI Project.

Keywords: Home Visiting, Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I received my Masters in Social Work in 2000 from the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, and have been a licensed advanced-practice social worker in the state of Wisconsin since 2001. For the past fifteen years I have worked with pregnant women and families with young children, and in the last six years have been active in community-based advocacy coalitions to improve access to health care and coverage. I am currently the Program Coordinator of the Ecocultural Family Interview Project and an elected council member of HealthWatch Wisconsin, a state-wide health care advocacy coalition.
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.