Online Program

Exploring and Extending Community Perspectives on Black Infant Mortality in North Florida

Wednesday, November 4, 2015 : 10:30 a.m. - 10:50 a.m.

Joedrecka Brown Speights, MD, Department of Family Medicine & Rural Health, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL
Alexandra Nowakowski, PhD, MPH, Geriatrics / Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine, Orlando, FL
M. Miaisha Mitchell, BA, c/o Department of Family Medicine and Rural Health, Frenchtown Front Porch Association, Tallahassee, FL
Jessica De Leon, PhD, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallahassee, FL
Throughout 2014, a multidisciplinary group of researchers and community leaders collaborated to learn about factors contributing to infant mortality among black families living in the Tallahassee area.  A community-based participatory research study was developed to explore black women’s perceptions about causes of infant death. This research sought to develop an evidence basis for interventions addressing community-identified needs in infant health promotion.

Three focus groups were held and the data were analyzed collaboratively by community leaders, medical students, and university faculty.  Participants included African-American women (n=20) ages 19 to 68 from Leon and Gadsden counties. Multiple factors may contribute to disparities in infant mortality.  Common themes included individual behaviors, family context, community/place, health systems, social structure, discrimination, and female burden.

Following the initial study, the working group expanded to include additional interested community stakeholders.  A series of events were planned to discuss research results with area residents and strategize next steps.  Sharing of results and planning of action strategies remains ongoing.  At present, the group is collaborating with the community on the Southside of Tallahassee, identified by focus group participants as an area with high infant mortality and pervasive challenges to health equity.

Through robust community-academic partnership, the team continues to engage residents in addressing health promotion resource gaps across multiple Tallahassee neighborhoods. Exchange of information amongst community members and other stakeholders will create opportunities for further interdisciplinary dialogue and activities around education, engagement and advocacy to eliminate infant mortality disparities.

Learning Areas:

Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Explain the history of community health disparities mitigation efforts in Leon County, FL. Describe data from preliminary research on infant mortality in black communities. Analyze results from initial research and implications for action strategies to address disparities. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of this community-engaged approach to health equity. Describe updates on current workgroup activities in South City, Tallahassee. Discuss viable strategies for implementing CBPR to promote health equity in your area.

Keyword(s): Birth Outcomes, Community-Based Research (CBPR)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator with my co-principal investigator and community partner, Miaisha Mitchell. We collaborate on work focusing on achieving maternal and child health equity, specifically in the area of black infant mortality. Our community-based participatory research project was focused on the perception of African American Women in Leon and Gadsden Counties regarding the disparity in black infant mortality. Other efforts in this area are ongoing.
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.

Back to: 5117.0: SIDS & Infant Mortality