Maternal and Child Health
Section Newsletter
Winter 2011

MESSAGE FROM THE CHAIR: SETTING MCH PRIORITIES FOR 2011

To start the new year and my first term as MCH Section chair, my first thought was:  WHAT ARE OUR CURRENT PRIORITIES FOR THE APHA MCH SECTION?  What concerns our members?  What are the pressing needs and new directions for MCH?  Obviously close to the heart of all MCH programs is Title V, which, along with many other public health programs, is currently under threat in the ongoing budget process.  Particularly disturbing is a bill proposed by Rep. Michelle Bachman (R-MN) that calls for elimination of the Title V MCH Block Grant, Title X Family Planning grants, National Health Service Corps, and other health programs.  While this is just the latest federal budget crisis, it does remind us that as MCH professionals, our advocacy efforts must include constant communication with our representatives in Congress and in state legislatures about the value of public health and these core MCH public health programs.   As part of its 2011 strategy, APHA wants to be the “Go To” organization for public health – that means that we in the MCH Section must strive to be the “Go To” organization for all things MCH!  When representatives from Congress are in their home districts, all of us should make an effort to connect with them on a regular basis to:

 

v  educate them and their staffers about MCH issues.

v  maintain vigilance to assure an understanding by policy makers of all things MCH.

v  establish local priorities for the mothers and children you serve.

If you need assistance or supporting documents APHA and AMCHP (www.amchp.org) have excellent resources to assist you.

 

For inspiration about current priorities in MCH, I turned to the MCH Section Call for Abstracts for the 2011 Annual Meeting.  Abstracts were due the second week in February, so it seemed timely to consider what matters to us right now.  There were several new topics added this year, suggested at our membership meeting by Section members in November, including:

 

v  the role and involvement of men in MCH

v  women’s health issues across the life course, such as obesity

Both of these expand our traditional area of focus and expertise but are very relevant to the provision of comprehensive health services.  In particular, the role of men in MCH is interesting and controversial.   As I write this, in Kigali, Rwanda, a particularly innovative and successful local program requires women in prenatal care to bring the fathers along for prenatal visits, so they can be tested as a COUPLE for HIV.  The ethical problems are interesting.  What about the single mother who doesn’t know who the father is?  What about the women whose partner is married to another woman?  However, the program is very successful, since approximately 80 percent of women do bring their partners for couples testing. This success enhances male involvement and reduces stigma, and in the end no woman is denied the test if she cannot come with a partner, so overall the impact on the health of women, infants, and families is quite positive.   Requiring men to attend prenatal care will likely not work everywhere, but beyond that what is our responsibility as providers to make men feel welcome and comfortable in our prenatal and child health clinics? How do we involve men in communities to advocate for their partners and children?  I have seen several interesting studies from Africa and the United States indicating what a poor job we are doing making men feel welcome in general in our MCH programs.  I look forward to the sessions at the 2011 Annual Meeting on this topic and encourage our members to bring your ideas to the table.

 

What are your priorities for MCH in 2011? Inquiring minds want to know!  Post your ideas on our APHA Maternal and Child Health Section Facebook Page or our SLHNet e-mail list!  We want to hear from you as well!

 

Also, the MCH Section Mid-Year Meeting is fast approaching! The Meeting will take place March 5 & 6, 2011 at APHA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. We welcome all interested members – contact Lauren Ramos to RSVP for this event at lramos@amchp.org.

 

Welcome to 2011 – I look forward to working with all of you this year!

 

Debra Jackson, RNC, MPH, DSc

Chair, MCH Section

Professor

School of Public Health, University of the Western Cape

Cape Town, South Africa

IMPROVING PREGNANCY OUTCOMES COMMITTEE REPORTS STELLAR MEETING

The Improving Pregnancy Outcomes (IPO) Committee can be proud of their accomplishments in 2010.  We had great success at the APHA Annual Meeting in Denver where the theme was: Social Justice: Public Health Imperative. Our business meeting was well attended, and we recruited some great new members.  At the business meeting, the IPO Committee attendees:

 

v  planned possible sessions for the 2011 APHA Annual Meeting.

v  discussed IPO Committee priorities and goals.

v  discussed policy priorities.

 

We had a fantastic turnout at the APHA sessions organized by our committee, with over 100 attendees at some of the sessions, which included the following:

 

v   Improving Maternal Health and Infant Outcomes in Socially Vulnerable   Groups --  Moderators: Judith Katzburg/Janine Lewis

v  Addressing Risky Health Behaviors to Improve Birth Outcomes -- Moderators: Janine Lewis/Kee Chan

v  Preconception, Prenatal, and Interconception Care to Improve Birth Outcomes -- Moderators: Kee Chan/Tyan Parker Dominguez

v  Improving Pregnancy Outcomes and Social Justice: Cutting Edge Approaches of Research, Policy, and Practice Leaders -- Moderator: Kee Chan

v  Improving Pregnancy Outcomes Poster Session

 

We are proud to report that several of our committee chairs were actively involved in the leadership of the Maternal and Child Health Section of APHA at this year’s Annual Meeting, including:

 

v  Judith Katzburg -- Governing Councilor

v  Janine Lewis -- Section Councilor Elect

v  Tyan Parker-Dominguez -- Section Councilor

 

At the close of the meeting, Janine Lewis became a MCH Section Councilor and Judith Katzburg became the chair-elect for our MCH Section.

 

We always welcome new members.

 

Your IPO Committee Chairs:

 

Kee Chan

Judith Katzburg

Janine Lewis

Tyan Parker-Dominguez

                                                                                             

MCH SECTION FELLOWS 2010-2011

The MCH Section welcomed a new class of Student Fellows at the APHA Annual Meeting in Denver.   Eleven Student Fellows and two Senior Student Fellows are now participating in a variety of leadership activities within the Section, including participating in a series of monthly MCH leadership development conference calls and working with mentors across the Section to support committees and various other activities, including this newsletter.  We are excited to be working with such a great group of passionate student leaders!  Please visit the Student Fellows page on the MCH Section website ( http://www.apha.org/membergroups/sections/aphasections/mch/benefits/2010-2011 Student Fellows.htm ) to learn more about each of this year’s Fellows.  

NOMINATIONS NEEDED FOR AGNES HIGGINS AWARD TO HONOR DISTINGUISHED ACHIEVEMENT IN MATERNAL-FETAL NUTRITION

Established in 1980, the March of Dimes Agnes Higgins Award honors the late Agnes Higgins of the Montreal Diet Dispensary for her innovation and years of service to the cause of improved maternal nutrition. A pioneer in devising methods of nutritional assessment and counseling, Mrs. Higgins greatly advanced the understanding of diet as a crucial factor in healthy pregnancy and prevention of low birthweight. The Agnes Higgins Award is presented in recognition of distinguished achievement in research, education, or clinical services in the field of maternal-fetal nutrition.

 

Call for Nominations — Deadline March 30, 2011

The March of Dimes seeks nominations for qualified candidates for the 2011 and 2012 Agnes Higgins Awards. Nominations for both years must be postmarked no later than March 30, 2011 to be eligible for review. Winners will receive a $3,000 honorarium and will be honored at a presentation and reception at the APHA Annual Meeting.

 

Nomination Criteria

Candidates for the Agnes Higgins Award must have:

 

§  Been widely involved in maternal-fetal nutrition through teaching, research, and/or clinical practice for at least five years;

§  Shown a demonstrable effect in raising the quality of maternal-fetal nutritional care through scholarly pursuits, research, education, and/or practice;

§  Demonstrated ability to apply maternal-fetal nutritional standards of practice and/or facilitate their implementation by others.

 

Contact Mary Lavan at (914) 997-4609 or mlavan@marchofdimes.com for a nomination form, and submit the completed form to Mary with all required attachments, which include:

 

§  A written description of the nominee’s achievements in maternal-fetal nutrition (300 word maximum).

§  A list of nominee’s publications relevant to the achievement for which the nomination is made.

§  The nominee’s curriculum vitae.

§  Letters from colleagues in support of the nominee’s qualifications and achievements (maximum of seven).

§  Manuscript samples (maximum of three).

 

Nominations postmarked after March 30, 2011 or without all required attachments will not be considered.

WORK FOR CONGRESS WITH AN APHA FELLOWSHIP

APHA has announced the call for applications for the 2012 APHA Public Health Fellowship in Government.  This is the fifth year that APHA has offered this fellowship, which has been described as an amazing and phenomenal experience by previous fellows.

 

Candidates must have strong public health credentials and be interested in spending one year in Washington, D.C., working in a Congressional office on legislative and policy issues related to health, the environment or other public health concerns.

 

The fellowship will begin in January 2012 and continue through December 2012. The fellowship provides a unique learning experience for a public health professional to gain practical knowledge in government and to see how the legislative and public policy process works.

 

Applications and additional information are available at http://www.apha.org/advocacy/fellowship/.   Hard copies of the application, including a CV and three letters of recommendation, must be sent to APHA by April 4, 2011.

 

All candidates must:

 

v  be APHA members.

v  have five years or more experience in a public health setting -- internships, graduate assistantships, and residencies do not count toward the five year requirement.

v  have a masters or doctorate in a public health or related discipline.

 

Please forward this information to anyone who you believe may be eligible and interested. For more information, please contact susan.polan@apha.org  or (202) 777-2510.

REGISTRATION NOW OPEN FOR APHA MID-YEAR MEETING -- IMPLEMENTING HEALTH REFORM: A PUBLIC HEALTH APPROACH

Registration is now open for APHA’s Midyear Meeting: Implementing Health Reform — A Public Health Approach. Join public health colleagues and partners in Chicago, June 23-25, to better understand the health reform law and its implications from a public health perspective. Gain the tools needed for implementing the provisions of the Affordable Care Act and for improving health outcomes in communities across the country. The early-bird registration deadline is April 15. To register or for more information, visit http://www.apha.org/midyear .

 

 

AMCHP SEEKS ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR, WOMEN'S AND INFANT HEALTH TEAM

AMCHP is looking for an Associate Director for their Women’s and Infant Health Team.  This position is accountable for the development, implementation and evaluation of program activities related to women's and infant health and maternal and child health data and assessment through cooperative agreements and other funding sources. This position leads the tracking, analysis and reporting on federal and state programs impacting women's and perinatal health, leads work to strengthen the capacity of MCH epidemiology at the state and national levels, and plays a critical role in fund development for women's and infant programmatic efforts.

 

The Associate Director develops and maintains partnerships with relevant federal agencies, funders and other national organizations, coalitions and groups concerned with women's and infant health. The Associate Director leads technical assistance efforts for the organization related to women's and infant health.

 

This position reports to the Director of Programs and is approximately 80 percent time.  The job requires a master's degree in public health, maternal and child health, epidemiology, health policy, or other related health or human services field with two years of direct professional experience. A bachelor's degree in relevant professional field plus four years experience working on public health-related issues can be substituted for advanced degree.  For more information, contact Adriana Houk, ahouk@amchp.org, 202-775-0436 (phone), 202-775-0061 (fax). 

NEW ONLINE COMMUNITY FOR MCH EPIDEMIOLOGISTS

The MCH Epi Group is pleased to announce the launch of their redesigned website,  http://mchepi.org, as an online community for collaboration among state, local, tribal and other MCH epidemiologists.  Registration is quick and free and provides the ability to post to the discussion forum.  Registration is not necessary to view the forum.

 

The MCH Epi Group was formed in 2009 by a group of practicing maternal and child health epidemiologists with the mission of promoting the use of data to guide public health practice and improve maternal and child health.  The organization accomplishes this by supporting the use of effective public health surveillance and epidemiologic practice through training, capacity development, and peer consultation; developing standards for practice; and advocating for resources and scientifically based policy.  The group convenes annually at the MCH Epi Conference.

 

The MCH Epi Group is an organization that does not require or offer formal membership.  Instead, the MCH Epi Group is comprised of MCH epidemiologists who wish to advance the field by working together both formally and informally.  The newly designed website is one of the major tools facilitating this collaborative work.    We encourage group participants to join one or more of our partner organizations such as AMCHP and CSTE.

 

For more information, please visit the website and/or contact Bill Sappenfield at Bill_Sappenfield@doh.state.fl.us.  

CDC OPENS NEW PEDIATRIC GENETICS WEBSITE

The CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities wants you to be one of the first to know about our new Pediatric Genetics website! We have been working hard to create a research-based site that is user-friendly, up-to-date, and appealing.

 

Some of the new features of the site include:

·         easy-to-read information on genetic disorders, family health history, genetic counseling, and newborn screening.

·         a compilation of important data and scientific publications.

·         an individualized page for health professionals.

 

Visit our site at http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/pediatricgenetics/.  Be sure to check back often as we continue to add new content and features!

 

Thanks for your time and support.

 

PRECONCEPTION HEALTH IN FLORIDA DURING JUNE

Improving Preconception Health in a New Era of Health Care is the theme of the Third National Summit on Preconception Health and Health Care, to be held in Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., from     June 13-15, 2011. The objectives of the summit are to:

v  advance opportunities to improve preconception health that are supported by provisions of the Affordable Care Act.

v  promote use of evidence-based preconception care.

v  showcase the ideas, innovation, and expertise that have emerged from the field over the past five years.

 

This Summit is being planned and hosted by the Florida Department of Health, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Health Resources and Services Administration, and the National Preconception Health and Health Care Initiative Steering Committee, which includes representatives from the CDC, HRSA, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, CityMatCH, March of Dimes, and National Healthy Start Association.

 

Preconception care is widely recognized as an important part of primary care for women of reproductive age, providing health promotion, screening, and interventions for women of childbearing age to reduce risk factors for future pregnancies. It includes interventions before a first pregnancy or between pregnancies, commonly known as interconception care. 

 

Currently, millions of women do not receive evidence-based care due to lack of coverage and/or quality primary care.  In 2007, over 20 percent of all women of childbearing age (ages 18-44) and nearly four in 10 low-income women in that age group did not have health coverage. Among uninsured women, 71 percent are low-income. With passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, gaps in coverage will be addressed but there is more to be done through implementation of the act.  A high-quality health care system must assure access to the right care, in the right setting, at the right time. For women in their childbearing years, health reform changes make it feasible to link preconception, prenatal, family planning, and other medical care as part of a seamless continuum of care for women. (Johnson K. Women’s health and health reform: implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2010 Dec; 22:492–497)

 

Many national, state, and community health leaders are looking for ways to leverage the provisions of the Affordable Care Act to improve the health of women and infants, with a focus on obesity and chronic disease, healthy behaviors, and better birth outcomes. Translating the many provisions of the Affordable Care Act into national, state and local advocacy is an ongoing challenge.    The Third National Summit on Preconception Health and Health Care will provide an opportunity to share and generate ideas about implementation of new programs and policies. For registration see the conference website.

UNC OFFERS ONLINE COURSES IN MATERNAL AND CHILD HEALTH

MASTER’S DEGREE IN MCH

 

Overview:  The online master’s degree in Maternal and Child Health provides access to graduate education for working professionals whose career goals are firmly focused on improving the health of women, children, and families in domestic and international settings.  Developed with support from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration's Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, the online MPH and MSPH degree programs provide the flexibility of distance delivery to students seeking a part-time course of graduate study in MCH. All MCH online courses are taught by MCH faculty of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. 

 

Curriculum:  The curriculum for online MPH and MSPH degree students parallels the residential master’s degree programs in MCH, but as part-time students, distance education students are expected to complete their degrees at a slower pace.  Online master’s degree students form a new cohort each January at which point they enroll in two of the required MCH core courses - MHCH 701: Foundations of MCH – and the leadership seminar, MHCH 790: Fundamentals of Leadership in MCH.  MPH and MSPH degree seeking students will also take SPH core courses, MCH methods courses and electives.  Additional requirements for a degree in MCH are the field practicum, comprehensive exam, and master’s paper.  All course work can be completed online with the exception of one five-day session held on the UNC campus in early January. 

 

CERTIFICATE IN MCH LEADERSHIP

 

Overview:  The Certificate in MCH Leadership is a three-course, 10-credit-hour program of study designed to provide practitioners with core knowledge, skills and competencies for promoting the health of the MCH population in domestic and global settings.  Major emphasis is placed on critically evaluating population-based solutions to complex health problems in MCH, with maternal and child health being defined in the broadest sense to include physical, political, economic, cultural, and psychosocial factors.  The Certificate is intended to build field leadership in addressing health disparities in MCH and in defining a population-based vision for improving health and well-being of women, children, youth and families.

 

Curriculum:  Two of the Certificate courses focus on critical thinking about the determinants of well-being of the MCH population.  The third course focuses on Public Health and MCH Leadership.  While specifically designed for distance education students and delivery via the Internet, Certificate courses are equivalent to those available to residential master's degree students in the Department of MCH. Students will be able to register, access course materials, interact with faculty, and successfully complete this program with only one four-day visit to the campus.  With successful completion of the MCH Certificate and upon admittance to the online master’s degree program, the 10 credits obtained in the Certificate can be approved for transfer toward an MPH or MSPH in MCH. 

 

For more information:

www.sph.unc.edu/mch/mch_leadership_certificate_overview_12092_9866.html 

or contact Marcia Roth, MPH, Director of Training Initiatives in MCH

marcia_roth@unc.edu

 

 

NTI AIMS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF CHILD CARE IN THE UNITED STATES

The National Training Institute for Child Care Health Consultants (NTI), located at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the national resource for training child care health consultant trainers in the United States. Established in 1997 with funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Services and Resources Administration, NTI supports the health and safety of young children in child care settings through the development of a national child care health consultant training program. NTI presents a state of the art Train-the-Trainer approach that includes both face-to-face and distance learning components.

 

NTI has developed and implemented this Train-the-Trainer program based on Caring for Our Children: National Health and Safety Performance Standard; Guidelines for Out-of-Home Child Care Programs.  These standards, published by APHA, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Resource Center for Health and Safety in Child Care and Early Education, are the highest health and safety standards for child care facilities available in the United States. Accompanying these standards are specific guidelines for achieving best practice.

 

The NTI program ensures that qualified health and child care professionals from every U.S. state and territory are available to prepare child care health consultants, who in turn provide health and safety assessment and guidance to out-of-home child care centers and family child care homes. NTI recruits state and regional public health and early childhood education professionals with experience in training and child care to attend the program and return to their respective home bases to develop a system of training and mentoring child care health consultants. NTI offers participants skills and curriculum materials that optimize their ability to train child care health consultants. Alongside content that addresses promotion of health and safety in child care settings, two core skills areas are emphasized:

v  curriculum development and training

v  observation and consultation

 

The NTI course is 14 weeks long and awards 133.4 contact hours upon successful completion. As of November 2010, NTI has prepared 443 trainers who have in turn trained over 4,800 child care health consultants. NTI program graduates have represented all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. 

 

To learn more about NTI and child care health consultation, access free resources related to health and safety in child care or register for future trainings, please visit http://nti.unc.edu.

LACTIVISTS HOLD "NURSE-IN" AT DC MUSEUM

The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C., was the scene of a gathering of about 100 parents and babies on Saturday, Feb. 12 as local “lactivists” acted to make the public aware of a mother’s legal right to breastfeed in public. 

It all started on Jan. 30 when Nori Aita of Rockville, Md., sat down on a bench at the Hirshhorn to breastfeed her daughter during a visit to the federally owned museum.  A security guard told her to move to the ladies’ room, but finding no place there to sit, Aita returned to the bench.  The guard continued to harass her, telling her to sit on a toilet in the restroom.  Aita tried another bench, but was soon confronted by another guard.  Aita and her family were finally forced to leave the museum. 

When she returned home, an Internet search quickly found the Right to Breastfeed Act, which guarantees a woman the right to breastfeed her child on federal property if she and her child are allowed to be there.  These provisions were incorporated into an appropriations bill and signed into law by President Clinton in 1999.  Also, there are many state laws that provide additional protections to nursing mothers, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act amends the Fair Labor Standards Act to require an employer to provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk for one year after the child's birth.

The Hirshhorn, which displays international and modern contemporary art, apologized to Aita and her family, and quickly moved to retrain their security personnel.   But the organizers of the “nurse-in” said they wanted to support the benefits of breastfeeding and to educate the public to remove the stigma associated with nursing a baby in public.

In other news, the city council of Alexandria, Va., outside Washington, D.C., voted unanimously to amend their indecent exposure law to exclude breastfeeding.  They plan to follow up with a special proclamation later in the month, to educate the public about the public health benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of mothers to breastfeed in a family friendly community. 

COLORADO LOOKS AT PRECONCEPTION HEALTH

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) Maternal Wellness Team, Health Statistics Section and Epidemiology, Planning and Evaluation Branch  published a CDPHE Health Watch titled, How Healthy Are Colorado Women of Reproductive Age? An Evaluation of Preconception Risk and Protective Factors.  The purpose of the report is to examine preconception health among Colorado women of reproductive age.  The report describes preconception risk and protective factors related to maternal and infant health outcomes among Colorado women ages 18 to 44 using data gathered from the Colorado Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System for years 2004 through 2006.  Risk factors in the analysis include smoking, obesity, poor mental health and alcohol use.  Protective factors include eating well, taking folic acid and exercising.

 

Many Colorado women of reproductive age engage in a variety of behaviors that are unhealthy.  Substantial proportions of women smoke tobacco (20 percent), are overweight or obese (42 percent), suffer from poor mental health (45 percent), and use alcohol (59 percent). Some women take steps to improve or maintain their health by eating fruits and vegetables (27 percent) and many more do so by exercising (57 percent) and taking folic acid (42 percent).

 

Analyses of the data also identified differences by age group (18 to 29 years and 30 to 44 years), ethnicity (Hispanic and non-Hispanic), and when a child was desired (within two years and two or more years). Young women are less likely to be overweight or obese, but they are also more likely to binge drink.  Risk factors are less prevalent among Hispanic women, but protective factors are less prevalent in this population as well.  Overall, women who desire a child in the near future are just as likely to smoke, be overweight or obese, report poor mental health, drink alcohol and binge drink as women who want to wait at least two years before having a child.  In addition, women are not improving their health by eating well, taking folic acid daily, and regularly exercising moderately or vigorously.  These findings highlight the importance of preconception health and its clear message that women of reproductive age should minimize risk factors and maximize protective factors during their reproductive years.  In so doing they will improve their own health and contribute to the health of the next generation. 

 

In Colorado, 39 percent of births result from pregnancies that are unplanned, and thousands of women are at risk for unintended pregnancy. Whether pregnancies are planned or unplanned, the health of the mother affects  the health of the child.  Improving preconception health requires changes in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors of individuals, families, communities and institutions.  Incorporating components of preconception health into clinical practice protocols and existing public health programs can help women modify risk factors and promote protective factors.  By encouraging healthy behaviors before pregnancy, prevention experts have the opportunity to help women attain optimal health over a lifetime and across generations.

 

The Colorado Healthy Women Healthy Babies and Health TeamWorks developed preconception and interconception clinical practice guidelines for health care providers to use during every office visit.  The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is developing, evaluating, and disseminating a life plan booklet designed to educate and help women set life goals, including plans for having children in the future, and to consider preconception health factors even if they do not desire future pregnancy.

 

The link to the Colorado Health Watch No. 78 article is http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/hs/hspublications.html.

REACH OUT AND READ DEVELOPS NEW LITERACY MATERIALS FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES

Gail Sherman is the grandmother of a child with autism.  For years, she found it difficult to read books aloud to her grandson because of his short attention span.  Then a pediatrician gave her a copy of the new Developmental Disabilities Literacy Promotion Guide developed by Reach Out and Read, the nationwide school readiness initiative.  After reading the handout on children with autism spectrum disorders , Gail began reading to her grandson in much shorter sessions and she introduced her grandson to new books with pictures of babies' faces to help him to better understand emotions.

 

“It’s wonderful to have doctors encourage parents and grandparents to read aloud, since it is an enjoyable activity that benefits both the adult and the child.  And these handouts, while acknowledging that we may need to make accommodations, focus on the pleasure of sharing books-something all children enjoy.” 

 

The Developmental Disabilities Literacy Promotion Guide was created by Dr. Monica Ultmann, a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and director of the Center for Children with Special Needs at Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center, along with Dr. Perri Klass, pediatrician and national medical director of the Reach Out and Read Program, and Dr. Robert Needleman, also a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and the co-founder of Reach Out and Read.  Drs. Ultmann, Klass and Needleman worked with the national staff of the pediatric literacy program to create handouts for parents of children with disabilities on the importance of book sharing and establishing reading aloud as a daily routine.

 

Dr. Ultmann, who helped Reach Out and Read become a standard part of medical care in St. Louis area hospitals and clinics, saw the need for materials that are specifically for families of children with special needs. “While children with disabilities have the same needs as other children -- to be cuddled and given attention that does not have a medical focus -- we do have a responsibility to give families the tools to make book sharing as easy as possible -- be it suggesting books with Velcro straps attached or how to position a child in a wheelchair so he can enjoy the book with a parent.”

 

The guide takes into consideration the particular needs of children with disabilities when providing guidance about reading developmentallynappropriate books. 

 

Reach Out and Read is an evidence-based, nonprofit organization that promotes early literacy and school readiness in pediatric exam rooms nationwide by giving new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud. Reach Out and Read builds on the unique relationship between parents and medical providers to develop critical early reading skills in children, beginning at 6 months of age. Fourteen research studies demonstrate that the 4 million families served annually by Reach Out and Read read together more often, and their children enter kindergarten better prepared to succeed, with larger vocabularies, stronger language skills, and a six-month developmental edge over their peers.

 

Until recently, Reach Out and Read handled literacy-related questions from pediatricians working with children with disabilities on a case-by-case basis.

 

“Now we have materials for general pediatricians on how to offer literacy guidance to all children and handouts for families with children who have special needs,” said Director of Training and Program Quality Barbara Ducharme, who worked extensively on the project with Drs. Ultmann and Klass.  “We are very excited to be starting our trial testing of the material, and we look forward to the input we will receive from the dozens of hospitals and clinics involved in the initial use of the Developmental Disabilities Literacy Promotion Guide.”

 

The guide provides reading tips, recommended books, and literacy milestones for children with seven different disabilities:

·         Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)

·         Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

·         Cerebral Palsy (CP)

·         Hearing Loss

·         Intellectual Disabilities

·         Speech and Language Problems

·         Vision Loss

 

The guide was developed with the support of CVS Caremark All Kids Can, a program of the CVS Caremark Charitable Trust.   Reach Out and Read is currently piloting the materials at community hospitals and clinics in Kansas City, Cleveland and Philadelphia.

 

Once the pilot process is complete, Reach Out and Read will incorporate suggestions and feedback from medical providers and families into the guide.  After that, the Developmental Disabilities Literacy Promotion Guide will be made available to all 4,600 Reach Out and Read Programs nationwide.  Downloadable versions will also be available on the Reach Out and Read website.

 

For more information, visit Reach Out and Read’s national website or e-mail info@reachoutandread.org

CHILDREN'S BOOKS ADDRESS SEPARATION ANXIETY OF MILITARY DEPLOYMENT

Dr. Chanda Nicole Holsey, founder of Healthy Aims for Little Ones and for their Families (HALO for Families), an organization whose mission is to meet the unique physical health, mental health, and social needs of children and families by identifying, developing, and promoting high quality, relevant resources that are child-focused, family-centered, and culturally and developmentally appropriate, has written and self-published her second children’s book:  Precious Pete, Will You Remember Me, When I Am Out to Sea? -- a follow-up to Dr. Holsey’s inaugural book, Savvie Sunshine, Will You Remember Daddy When I Am Out to Sea?  Both children’s books are charming stories that address the separation anxiety experienced by the Navy dad when facing a military deployment.  Both books are important because in our society, men are often socialized to hide their feelings or withdraw.  However, that is very difficult to do when a man has to leave his young child whom he adores and is really just getting to know.  Both books focus on how mom and child will help relieve dad’s nervousness from having to leave his family.  They are delightful children’s book that kids will enjoy and parents will appreciate and embrace.

For more information about HALO for Families or to purchase a copy of Precious Pete, Will You Remember Me, When I Am Out to Sea? or Savvie Sunshine, Will You Remember Daddy When I Am Out to Sea? go to http://www.haloforfamilies.org/store/.

 

BIRTH, BREASTFEEDING AND BEYOND: SUSTAINING COMMUNITY-BASED PRACTICES

HealthConnect One (HC One) invites you to join us in celebrating the historic anniversary of the Affordable Care Act as we host our fifth national conference, Birth, Breastfeeding and Beyond, on March 21 -23, 2011 at the Hilton Arlington, just across the bridge from Washington, D.C.

  

Click here for a full schedule and more information.

Who Should Attend?

Community health workers, community-based doulas, breastfeeding peer counselors, maternal and child health program practitioners, administrators, supervisors, researchers, educators, registered nurses, policy-makers, government officials, students, social innovators, community leaders -- and anyone else interested in developing, practicing, or sustaining cutting-edge community-based maternal and child health programs.

Highlights of the conference include:

 

·         Health Reform and Poetry – Come to our Opening Reception and hear Mayra E. Alvarez, MHA, director of public health policy for the Office of Health Reform, discuss the impact of health reform on community-based practice. Stay to enjoy spoken word poetry by high school youth from the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop.

 

  • Judy Thierry, DO, MPH, of the Indian Health Service, will share the community strategies she helped to develop for the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.

 

  • Gather tips on Leveraging Hospital Breastfeeding Data to Improve Maternity Care Practices and Breastfeeding Rates from Karen Farley, RD, IBCLC, of the California WIC Association and Robbie Gonzalez Dow, MPH, RD, CLE, of the California Breastfeeding Coalition.

 

  • Eugene DeClercq, PhD, Professor, Boston University School of Public Health, will present Five Key Trends in the Changing World of Maternity Care in 2011.

 

  • Community-based practice is the overarching theme for workshops offered by Open Arms Perinatal Services (Seattle), Migrant Health Promotion (Weslaco, Texas), Brooklyn Young Mothers Collective (New York, N.Y.), Family Health and Birth Center (Washington, D.C.), Hudson Perinatal Consortium (Newark, N.J.), BirthMatters (Spartanburg, S.C.), and the Indiana Perinatal Network (Indianapolis), among others.

 

  • Advocacy Day - Join us on Capitol Hill to celebrate the Birthday of Health Reform, and share with legislators the impact of community health workers on maternal and child health! 

Registration Fees

 

HealthConnect One is a national non-profit building sustainable programs for peer-to-peer support during pregnancy, birth and early parenting, through training and technical assistance for direct service providers in low-income communities. We are currently advising 82 communities in 28 states, Washington, D.C., and internationally, in various stages of preparation or replication of the community-based doula model – including communities in Puerto Rico, Chile and Japan who have taken the initial steps to develop their programs. 

 

For more information about HealthConnect One, please visit our website at www.healthconnectone.org.

 

 

$200 MILLION GRANT FOR HEALTH OF WOMEN AND CHILDREN

The Associated Press reported in September 2010 that health giant Johnson & Johnson is donating about $200 million in cash and medicine to a sweeping United Nations program to improve the health and lives of people in poor countries.  Johnson & Johnson is launching a five-year program called "Every Mother, Every Child" to help about 400 million women and children in developing countries by:

v  donating medicine to treat intestinal worms in children.

v  sending pregnant women messages on their cell phones about prenatal care.

v  working to make childbirth safer.

v  continuing research on innovative treatments for the HIV virus and tuberculosis, both of which disproportionately affect women and children in developing countries.

 

The Johnson & Johnson effort is part of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals, an ambitious international effort to improve basic needs and rights for everyone in the world, including freedom from extreme poverty and hunger, productive employment, quality education, good health and shelter, equality between the sexes, and environmental sustainability. For more information see the Johnson & Johnson website.

2011 CITYMATCH CONFERENCE: ADVANCING HEALTH EQUITY, WORKING FOR JUSTICE IN ALL COMMUNITIES

The 2011 CityMatCH Urban Maternal and Child Health Leadership Conference will be held Sept. 17-20, 2011, at the Parc 55 Wyndham Hotel in San Francisco’s exciting Union Square! 

 

The focus of this year’s conference is Justice. As a nation, we have made significant progress toward achieving justice for all. However, injustices still remain in many areas and for many populations. Where injustice lingers, inequities in health and well-being persist, and deepen. While encouraging, the progress made is ultimately insufficient to advance the nation’s health in a substantial and equitable manner. This year’s CityMatCH conference will shed light on those areas of justice — social, economic, environmental and reproductive justice — that most directly impact maternal and child health, and will challenge participants to think critically about their role in actively advancing justice and health equity.

 

The CityMatCH Conference is designed for MCH professionals at all levels including: health directors and MCH leaders from local and state health departments; academic and research staff from educational institutions; federal partners concerned with maternal, child, and adolescent health; national public health organizations; non-governmental health professionals and consultants; and, students interested in public health and maternal and child health.

 

Each year, through the conference, CityMatCH disseminates science and information for improving urban maternal and child health practice, provides skills and practices to address MCH issues, and creates opportunities for networking and exchanging promising practices. The 2011 CityMatCH Conference will achieve these goals within a framework of achieving justice.

 

Don’t miss this exciting opportunity to be challenged and inspired, learn new skills to further your work, make new connections, and learn from your peers! For more information, visit the CityMatCH website at www.citymatch.org/conference or contact CityMatCH at (402) 561-7500.

 

 

 

 

MCH ITEMS OF INTEREST IN THE NEWS

·         Oral Health:  The Maternal and Child Health Library at Georgetown University in collaboration with the National Maternal and Child Oral Health Resource Center released a new edition of the knowledge path about oral health for infants, children, adolescents and pregnant women.   Presented in time for National Children’s Dental Health Month in February, this electronic guide points to resources that analyze data, describe effective programs, and report on policy and research aimed at improving access to and the quality of oral health care.  The knowledge path can be used by health professionals, program administrators, educators, and policy-makers to learn more about oral health, for program development, and to locate training resources and information to answer specific questions. Separate sections present resources for schools and child care and Head Start programs as well as resources about dental caries, dental sealants, fluoride varnish, pregnancy, and special health care needs. A resource brief for families that accompanies the knowledge path is also available.

 

·         Toilet Training: The Washington Post reported on Jan. 30 that an Arlington, Va., public preschool “removed” a child in December, asking her parents not to bring her back until she learned not to have any more “accidents.”  The incident sparked a lively discussion in the pages of the newspaper over the appropriate age and timetable for toilet training children, the role of families and schools in teaching children self-control, and how lenient we should be as our children learn to live without diapers.

 

·         Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health Provides Snapshots and Trending Data:  The Data Resource Center provides snapshots of how health and system performance differ across children who have public and private insurance, using data from the 2007 National Survey of Children’s Health.  The site also provides trending data that can compare outcomes and indicators across the 2001 and the 2005/2006 National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs.  The Center website, www.childhealthdata.org, is a project of the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative and is funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau.

 

·         New study suggests having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, but having a baby does:  In January, the New England Journal of Medicine published a new Danish study showing that postpartum depression is much more likely to trigger mental illness than terminating a pregnancy.  This is possibly due to hormonal changes, sleep deprivation, and other demands associated with having a baby, but absent for those opting for abortion.  The study further debunks the notion that terminating a pregnancy puts a woman’s mental health at risk.  For more details, see the news story on MSNBC.