Online Program

Utilizing System Dynamics and Community Based Participatory Research to assist in the development of an Early Childhood Intervention Program

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Beth Rotter, PhD, MPH, Raising St. Louis, BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, MO
Peter Hovmand, PhD, MSW, Social System Design Lab, George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Nancy Zoellner, MPH, Social System Design Lab, George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University, St. Louis, MO
Tom Santel, MBA, Raising St. Louis, BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, MO
Kel Ward, BS, Raising St. Louis, BJC HealthCare, St. Louis, MO
In 2011, an urban, Midwestern hospital system decided to develop a community health intervention program.  Its flagship hospital is near low-income populations with significant health disparities.  Community members/organizations advised that an early childhood intervention would be most effective.  Growing scientific evidence shows critical periods of brain development occur during pregnancy and years following.  Rather than duplicate services, we sought to combine existing, proven program in a systematic way to better serve clients. 

 In 2012, we engaged a local University in discussions of program structure.  Group model building (GMB) is a participatory method for engaging stakeholders to understand system dynamics from a feedback perspective, using structured group exercises to develop models to identify/understand the behavior of systems. GMB has been cited by the IOM as an innovative approach to develop integrated community prevention frameworks.

 The first project phase involved five GMB workshops with providers/other professionals. These focused on understanding how existing providers currently functioned--exploring, and eventually designing a “braided program” building upon strengths of individual programs, meant to ensure engagement prenatally through age eight. The second phase contained three GMB workshops with community members to understand resources to raise a child and identify meaningful services. The workshops resulted in a causal map highlighting complex interactions of various social determinants of family/child wellbeing, and concrete ideas to ensure targeted activities by the proposed program were meaningful.

 Along with input from stakeholders/community members, the core concepts identified through GMB were mapped to programmatic goals/objectives to measure program fidelity/impact, and informed program design/evaluation efforts.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe group model building(GMB) processes as a participatory method to involve community provider and academic stakeholders in the development of a coordinated early childhood home visitation program. Explain how GMB was employed to coordinate a blended service delivery model among two existing home visitation programs in a systematic way for greater effectiveness.

Keyword(s): Maternal and Child Health, Community-Based Partnership & Collaboration

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to be an abstract Author as I am responsible for the Planning, Analysis and Evaluation for the Raising St. Louis program, the early childhood intervention I am describing in this submission. I completed my doctoral work in the field of MCH, specifically focusing on maternal child health home visitation programs.
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.