Organize a Conference for Local Providers
Minorities, particularly African Americans and Native Americans, have consistently higher infant mortality rates. As heartbreaking and surprising as bad birth outcomes including infant deaths are for affected parents, they should not be a complete surprise for providers and health professionals in general. There are very strong predictors of birth outcomes and clear risk factors for infant mortality that are there for all to see, but whose connection is not always as clear for providers, or they lack the adequate tools and approach to make those connections evident to their patients in ways that lead to appropriate action.
September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month, and in 2011, the Office of Minority Health partnered with local communities, and focus on the role of the health care provider. The theme was A Healthy Baby Begins with You. Healthcare professionals take on infant mortality. To actually take on infant mortality, doctors, nurses, midwives, and all healthcare professionals need to know not only the medical aspects, but the influence of the social determinants of health on the health outlook of the patients with whom they interact. Cultural and class competence is no longer an option. These major components must be addressed in order to not just decrease, but eliminate health disparities. Place, race, and income do matter, but there are ways to account for them and address them in order to have a more holistic and effective approach to patient care.
Last year the one-day professional conference Place, Race, and Poverty: Strong Predictors of Birth Outcomes provided health professionals with solid research regarding the impact of social determinants in fetal development and birth, maternal and infant health outcomes. They also learned about culturally appropriate tools and approaches to infuse their practices.
Although the theme for Infant Mortality Awareness Month changes annually, the work providers and health care professional do daily is needed to stem the tide of health disparities, particularly for the youngest Americans. The resources below can be used to organize a conference among colleagues to continue bolstering the work being done to raise awareness and reduce rates of infant mortality.
Suggested Conference Topics
- Health consequences of serial displacement in minority communities
- Impact of environment and poverty on fetal neurodevelopment and prematurity
- Impact of paternal involvement on Racial/Ethnic disparities in infant mortality rates
- The economics of fatherhood and male involvement and the impact on families and children
- Class and cultural competence in overcoming negative social determinants of health
Learning Objectives by Topic
Health consequences of serial displacement in minority communities.
- Understand serial displacement and "root shock"
- Describe the health consequences of serial displacement
- Link serial displacement to their practice
- Describe ways to address the health effects of serial displacement
- Understand the main developmental issues associated with prematurity
- Learn strategies to reduce the incidence of preterm birth
- Understand the impact of poverty and environment on fetal neurological development
- Understand the contribution of paternal involvement to racial disparities in infant mortality
- Understand how interventions to improve perinatal paternal involvement may decrease the burden of absent father-associated infant mortality
- Understand the influence of low-income fathers on children and family
- Understand the relationship contexts of young disadvantaged men and how they affect childbearing and fatherhood
- Understand the concept of "culture of poverty" and its relationship to health and health disparities
- Understand the link between race/ethnicity, education, and immigration status and family poverty and hardship
- Describe culturally competent strategies to work within the culture of poverty
- Describe strategies to address the effects of poverty at the medical practice level