Our commitment with CelebrateOne, Franklin County’s infant mortality prevention collaborative, will establish a new program, Housing for Pregnant Women, that will provide an integrated housing and health program. Support offered through the program includes rental and utility assistance, housing search and move-in assistance and housing stabilization services. Housing stress leads to increased rates of preterm birth, along with other negative outcomes. Through this program we can offer assistance, provide heathier situations for mothers and babies and start to bring the preterm birthrate down.
We came together with Kent State University Foundation with the goal to expand programming targeting preterm births and infant mortality among Black mothers in Northeast Ohio. Experts at Kent State found that untreated post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic stress among Black mothers play a critical role in high mortality rates among Black children. We will address this ongoing need through a newly launched program, The Spirit of Motherhood, a multi-level, multi-generational intervention approach that has three components to reduce infant mortality by reducing race-related stress in Black women:
- Provide Black pregnant women with Written Exposure Therapy, a brief intervention that helps them process racial trauma and other traumatic life experiences, delivered by Black clinical psychology doctoral-level therapists;
- A 5-session behavioral parenting training designed to alleviate parenting-related stressors and teach and enhance parenting skills for Black mothers, led by community-based doulas;
- Utilization of music to teach preschool children of the pregnant women emotion regulation, adaptive coping, and social skills.
Lastly, our collaboration with Open Table and Moms2B will aim to reduce the preterm birthrate for 390 vulnerable women in Columbus and Dayton over a period of three years from 12.7% to 9.9%. Through innovative models, we will employ evidence-informed programming specific to pregnant or parenting women with complex barriers where their health can be directly impacted by the social factors they face such as access to nutritious food, reliable transportation, quality housing, and financial stability. Moms2B will identify, screen, and refer at-risk clients to Open Table that have the most complex needs through an individualized and personalized care approach that will form deep, long-lasting relationships with a specialized team of six community volunteers that meets weekly for a year working on goals specific to each woman and her family.
Through approaches like these – which combine data, community engagement, and education – we are working to break down barriers and increase access to high-quality maternal healthcare for women and their babies across Ohio.
Dr. Bradley Jackson is the Chief Medical Director for Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s Medicaid Health Plan in Ohio.