Advertisement

Maternal and Child Health Journal

, Volume 22, Issue 12, pp 1693–1697 | Cite as

An Unexpected, Yet Welcomed Outcome of the St. Louis Healthy Start Program

  • Darcell P. Scharff
  • Keri Jupka
  • Lora Gulley
  • Kate Kasper
  • Ellen Barnidge
From the Field
  • 14 Downloads

Abstract

Introduction Racial disparities in birth outcomes are a significant problem in the U.S. The St. Louis Healthy Start (SLHS) program, funded for 14 years, had a goal of reducing disparate rates of poor birth outcomes in three disadvantaged communities in the St. Louis area. The Making Change Happen Leadership Academy (MCHLA) was an unanticipated community-driven effort that grew out of SLHS and continues today. The primary goal of the MCHLA is to empower women to gain mastery over their lives and use their power to improve birth outcomes in their communities. Methods Qualitative interviews were conducted with MCHLA participants to determine the impact of participation in the MCHLA on their leadership skills and attitudes. Results Participants reported positive attitudes about themselves including increased confidence and improved parenting skills. Through active participation in project work, they noted increased professional and advocacy skills and recognition of the importance of their voice. As leaders, they recognized the importance of giving and receiving emotional, tangible, and information social support. The small sample prevents us from confidently reporting that findings directly relate to the MCHLA. Discussion Leaders exist in all communities. Public health practitioners may help enhance and develop leaders with tangible support. We need to encourage more MCHLA type programs while systematically evaluating their impact on empowerment in underserved women.

Keywords

Birth outcomes Disparities Empowerment Leadership Qualitative methods 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The funding was supported by Health Resources and Services Administration (Grant No. H49MC05017).

Supplementary material

10995_2018_2631_MOESM1_ESM.docx (17 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 17 KB)
10995_2018_2631_MOESM2_ESM.docx (19 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (DOCX 18 KB)

References

  1. Benard, B. (1995). Fostering resilience in children. Urbana: ERIC.Google Scholar
  2. Borbasi, S., Jackson, D., & Wilkes, L. (2005). Fieldwork in nursing research: Positionality, practicalities and predicaments. Methodological Issues in Nursing Research., 51(5), 493–501.Google Scholar
  3. Bourke, B. (2014). Positionality: Reflecting on the research process. The Qualitative Report, 19(33), 1–9.Google Scholar
  4. Corbin Dwyer, S., & Buckle, J. L. (2009). The space between: On being an insider-outsider in qualitative research. International Journal for Qualitative Methodology, 8(1), 54–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Qualitative inquiry research design: Choosing among five approaches. Los Angeles: SAGE.Google Scholar
  6. Generate Health. (2018). Retrieved February 4, 2018 from https://www.generatehealthstl.org.
  7. Giurgescu, C., McFarlin, B. L., Lomax, J., Craddock, C., & Albrecht, A. (2011). Racial discrimination and the black-white gap in adverse birth outcomes: A review. Journal of Midwifery & Womens Health, 56(4), 362–370.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1542-2011.2011.00034.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Gutierrez, L. (1990). Working with women of color: An empowerment perspective. Social Work, 35(2), 149–153.Google Scholar
  9. Healthy Start. (2016). Maternal child health bureau. Health services resource administrations. Retrieved May, 2016, from https://mchb.hrsa.gov/maternal-child-health-initiatives/healthy-start.
  10. House, J. S. (1981). Work stress and social support. Reading: Addison-Wesley.Google Scholar
  11. Israel, B. A., Checkoway, B., Schulz, A., & Zimmerman, M. (1994). Health education and community empowerment: Conceptualizing and measuring perceptions of individual, organizational, and community control. Health Education Quarterly, 21(2), 149–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Marmot, M. (2005). Social determinants of health inequalities. The Lancet, 365(9464), 1099–1104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Mathews, T. J., & Driscoll, A. K. (2017). Trends in infant mortality in the United States, 2005–2014. Hyattsville: NCHS.Google Scholar
  14. Missouri Deaprtment of Health and Senior Services. (2016). Data, surveillance systems and statistical reports. Jefferson City: Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services.Google Scholar
  15. Perkins, D. D., & Zimmerman, M. A. (2004). Empowerment theory, research, and application. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 569–579.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Schulz, A. J., Israel, B. I., Zimmerman, M. A., & Checkoway, B. N. (1995). Empowerment as a multi-level construct: Perceived control at the individual, organizational and community levels. Health Education Research, 10(3), 309–327.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. United States Census. (2015). Population and housing units estimates. Maryland: United States Census.Google Scholar
  18. Wallerstein, N. (1992). Powerlessness, empowerment, and health: Implications for health promotion programs. American Journal of Health Promotion, 6(3), 197–205.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Zimmerman, M. A. (1995). Psychological empowerment: Issues and Illustrations. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 581–599.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Zimmerman, M. A. (2013). Resiliency theory: A strengths-based approach to research and practice for adolescent health. Health Education & Behavior, 40(4), 381–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College for Public Health and Social Justice, Salus CenterSaint Louis UniversitySt. LouisUSA
  2. 2.Emerson YMCASt. LouisUSA
  3. 3.Generate HealthSt. LouisUSA

Personalised recommendations