Online Program

Assessing the Needs and Perceived Barriers to Care for Women, Infants, and Children in Illinois: A Life-Course Approach

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Sarah Hueneke, MPH Candidate, Office of Women's Health and Family Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL
Ivonne Sambolin, MBA, Office of Women's Health and Family Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL
James Hurley, MPA, Office of Women's Health and Family Services, Illinois Department of Public Health, Chicago, IL

The Title V Maternal and Child Health program seeks to improve the health of women, infants, children, and adolescents. While each population has unique health service needs, the life-course perspective posits that early life experiences, or previous generational stress, can influence the health of a person from childhood into adulthood.


The Illinois Department of Public Health Office of Women’s Health and Family Services held a series of statewide consumer focus groups to collect qualitative data on the health needs of Illinois women and children. A total of 18 focus groups were conducted throughout Illinois, involving over 100 consumer participants.



There were several consumer themes which came to light regarding the perceived health needs and barriers of women, infants, children, and adolescents. The themes encompassed participants from every point in the life-course including: transportation, health education, and communication.  These findings were similar to the 2010 Title V assessment suggesting that our sample was representative of Illinois and provides a valid baseline of comparison for quality improvement.


The qualitative data will be used to inform the state Title V priorities for the next five years. The most important themes identified by consumers highlight the needs that cut across the life-course and population groups. To truly impact MCH population health, addressing these cross-cutting issues will be crucial.

Learning Areas:

Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Program planning
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Explain the life-course perspective Identify the benefits of using this theory to develop program assessments Formulate cross-cutting thematic inferences through qualitative data Identify the relationship between the life-course perspective and better birth outcomes

Keyword(s): Quality Improvement, Needs Assessment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been an Illinois Public Health Association AmeriCorps member serving with the Illinois Department of Public Health since September. My main project has been to collect and analyze qualitative data from consumers as well as writing the final needs assessment document submitted to HRSA. I have also almost completed my MPH as well as already holding a BS in public health.
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.