142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Capturing the Voices of Black Women to Impact Policies that Affect Infant Mortality at the Community Level

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 10:50 AM - 11:10 AM

Ndidi Amutah, PhD, MPH, CHES , Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ
Ilise Zimmerman, MPH, MS , Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, Newark, NJ
Background: In 1997, the NJ Department of Health launched a statewide awareness campaign focusing on racial disparities in perinatal outcomes, including a “Black Infants, Better Survival” website and a requirement that physicians obtain cultural competency education, as a condition of licensure.  Funding was dedicated to interventions that reduced the stress levels of Black pregnant women and increased the cultural sensitivity of providers.    

Purpose: In 2013, the Department requested that the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health of Northern New Jersey, a non-profit health agency, conduct Focus Groups with Black women to determine whether the barriers to prenatal and primary care identified over 15 years ago, remained the same. 

Methods: The Partnership conducted Focus Groups reaching a total of 139 Black women.  After a qualitative content analysis of the transcripts, it was apparent that many obstacles currently preventing Black women from obtaining prenatal and primary care were the same as those identified in the 1990’s.  However, while cultural competency was cited as a concern, Focus Group attendees identified their priority concerns as insurance status and affordability of care. 

Conclusion: Focus Group participants identified difficulties in securing health insurance and a timely appointment as significant barriers to care.  A newly identified issue was the transfer of their care from hospital clinics to federally qualified health centers, where specialists were limited and quality of care was questionable.   When these findings were reported to the Department of Health; they shifted their priorities.  In conclusion, community voices influenced government policy and funding decisions. 

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Identify the value of Focus Groups that use rigorous content analysis as an effective tool to capture authentic input from Black women regarding their experiences accessing prenatal and primary care Discuss the benefits of incorporating Community Voices into policies and practices promoting health equity

Keyword(s): Health Disparities/Inequities, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the research that is being 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.