Abstract Title

Improving Black Maternal and Child Health Outcomes Through Culturally Reflective and Respectful Care

Abstract

The Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative (AHSI) is a maternal and child health program implemented by the Center for Black Women’s Wellness. The goal of the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative is to reduce maternal and child health disparities in Fulton County, Georgia. AHSI provides services such as home visitations, linkages to needed health and social services, parent and breastfeeding education and support, mental/emotional well-being services, monthly peer support groups and postpartum education. The program’s components are infused with culturally reflective and culturally appropriate respectful care which result in positive birth outcomes for black birthing people. Culturally reflective and respectful care refers to a care coordination team who are the same race and have lived or worked extensively in the community and are empathetic to the client’s unique needs. Providing excellent care in a welcoming environment creates more trusting and supportive relationships between the client and the team.

Non-Hispanic Black participants in this initiative have lower rates of preterm births, low and very low birthweight births, and maternal and infant mortality than non-participants in Fulton County. Participants also have improved entry into prenatal care, increased linkages to medical homes, and high client satisfaction rates.

The success of AHSI has implications for organizations and researchers exploring community-based methods for improving maternal health

Keywords

health disparities, maternal and child health, health promotion, health education

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Improving Black Maternal and Child Health Outcomes Through Culturally Reflective and Respectful Care

The Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative (AHSI) is a maternal and child health program implemented by the Center for Black Women’s Wellness. The goal of the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative is to reduce maternal and child health disparities in Fulton County, Georgia. AHSI provides services such as home visitations, linkages to needed health and social services, parent and breastfeeding education and support, mental/emotional well-being services, monthly peer support groups and postpartum education. The program’s components are infused with culturally reflective and culturally appropriate respectful care which result in positive birth outcomes for black birthing people. Culturally reflective and respectful care refers to a care coordination team who are the same race and have lived or worked extensively in the community and are empathetic to the client’s unique needs. Providing excellent care in a welcoming environment creates more trusting and supportive relationships between the client and the team.

Non-Hispanic Black participants in this initiative have lower rates of preterm births, low and very low birthweight births, and maternal and infant mortality than non-participants in Fulton County. Participants also have improved entry into prenatal care, increased linkages to medical homes, and high client satisfaction rates.

The success of AHSI has implications for organizations and researchers exploring community-based methods for improving maternal health