Online Program

Development and implementation of a community outreach plan to reduce preterm birth

Monday, November 4, 2013

Shenecia Beecher, MD, Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health, UMDNJ New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ
Laurie Navin, BBA, March Of Dimes, Sayreville, NJ
Anna Bess Brown, MPH, Chapter Program Support Dept., March Of Dimes, White Plains, NY
BACKGROUND: Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait® (HBWW) is a March of Dimes community-based initiative to reduce the Newark preterm birth rate, currently 16.5% (18.6% in African-American women), compared to 12.2% nationally and 12.5% in NJ. Community involvement is an essential component of HBWW. We describe the development and implementation of our community outreach plan.

METHODS: Outreach plan goals include education of community members and key policy influencers, agency collaboration, and community engagement. Four focus areas were derived from a 12-point plan to reduce preterm birth. We included strategies from community-based health education programs identified in the literature, and suggestions from workgroup members with community health experience. We adapted a health communications template from the National Cancer Institute.

RESULTS: The plan utilizes community-based individual and small group education by community agencies and outreach workers at community centers, housing developments, and other places where women gather. To effect primary and secondary prevention of preterm birth through education and risk modification, we address 4 key areas: access to care, pregnancy planning and spacing, overweight, and adequate prenatal care. A toolkit of resources, including a presentation and handouts on preterm birth and risk reduction, will be provided to agencies and educators. We expect plan implementation in early 2013, then survey-based evaluation at partner sites to assess women's awareness of preterm birth risks and the HBWW program.

CONCLUSIONS: A multi-pronged approach is needed for successful community-based outreach. We anticipate that our plan will increase preterm birth awareness, promote risk-modifying behaviors, and reduce racial disparities.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Identify the public health implications of disparities on rates of prematurity. Discuss efforts to reduce preterm birth using the data on preterm birth risk factors Describe the strengths, limitations and challenges in developing and implementing community-based outreach to improve health outcomes. List at least 3 evidence-based methods to engage a community.

Keyword(s): Community Education, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am presently in training as a resident in Preventive Medicine and Public Health, with education and practical experience in individual- and community-based health promotion and program development in relevant areas such as personal risk modification. I was actively involved in the development of the community outreach plan herein presented.
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.