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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Office of Minority Health

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Grantee Information

Organization: Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) – Division of Health Promotion

Organization Address: 2 Peachtree Street, NW, Atlanta, GA, 30303

Phone Number: 404-656-2480

Fax Number: N/A

Organization website URL (if any):

Brief Description of the Organization: The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is the lead agency in preventing disease, injury and disability, promoting health and well-being, and preparing for and responding to disasters from a health perspective. DPH’s main functions include: Health Promotion and Disease Prevention; Maternal and Child Health; Infectious Disease and Immunization; Environmental Health; Epidemiology; Emergency Preparedness and Response; Emergency Medical Services; Pharmacy; Nursing; Volunteer Health Care; the Office of Health Equity; Vital Records; and, the State Public Health Laboratory.

Grant Project Information

Title of Grant Project: An Integrated Food and Language Nutrition Curriculum for Early Childhood Educators to Improve Health Outcomes among Racial and Ethnic Minorities in Three Georgia Communities

Amount of OMH Award: $200,000

Name of Project Director: Jean O’Connor

Phone Number of Project Director: 404-656-2480

E-mail Address of Project Director:


Early exposure to language sets the foundation for cognitive ability, literacy, school readiness, and ultimately educational achievement. A child’s vocabulary at the age of three is a key predictor of school readiness at kindergarten and third grade reading comprehension, which is a powerful predictor of subsequent academic success. Third grade marks a time when children shift from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Reading proficiently by the end of third grade is an important indicator of future outcomes, from academic to health to economic. In Georgia, only 34 % of fourth grade students scored at the proficient level or above, and the state’s low-income students fared worse at only 21%. This gap in exposure to language was the primary predictor in long-term outcomes for children, outweighing other socioeconomic factors.

To address these inequalities, DPH is implementing an intervention to improve early childhood language exposure and acquisition. The program has three primary objectives: 1) Creating a Health Disparities Profile for the Leading Health Indicators selected; 2) Developing and implementing a two-module early childhood education curriculum that focuses on food and language, adapting existing materials to promote healthy infants and young children; and 3) Engaging the selected communities. The Georgia Department of Public Health has partnered with Emory University and the Marcus Autism Center, among others, to create a new curriculum targeting early childhood educators in three communities. DPH will train early childhood educators as coaches, who will model good language and food nutrition practices, and teach families to adopt these healthy behaviors at home. Using evidence-based home visitation models, teachers for children and adults will conduct hour-long home visits with each family in the participating school three times per school-year to discuss Talk With Me Baby (TWMB) strategies related to food nutrition and other family issues. Instruction and discussion in these visits will pick up on Parent and Child Time (PACT) sessions, and offer opportunities to track how TWMB strategies are being implemented at home. These visits also provide opportunities to offer one-on-one coaching at home, discuss the unique needs of each family, and lend individualized support.

Georgia will test and disseminate tools for providers and families and improve the health outcomes for children in the targeted communities. DPH will also create a user-friendly disparities profile for each of the communities served by the grant and a two-module curriculum for early childhood educators that combines the use of the Georgia early childhood education toolkit. The project will be replicated and expanded in years 2-5 as funds permit and lessons are learned from the development and implementation of the tools and profile.

Georgia will seek to assess its performance and evaluate its efforts within each of the targeted communities through a process and outcome evaluation. DPH will work closely with partners to manage and synthesize both the quantitative and qualitative data submitted. Each Public Health District will be held accountable for monitoring and reporting progress on the project’s activities and performance measures. Each District also will be required to submit performance measures at least annually.

Process measures include:

  • Number of early childhood educators trained;
  • Number of home visits and educational material provided to families.

Outcome measures include:

  • Prevalence of diabetes and obesity;
  • Total vegetable intake–ages 2 and older;
  • Increase the percentage of parents who read to their young child;
  • Increase scores of preschool learning scale assessments of children entering pre-K compared to average scores of students within the geographic hotspot at the time of the project’s launch;
  • Increase scores on the Child Development Inventory (CDI), a tool that asks parents to self-report based on a 300-question survey of developmental markers in children ages 15 months to six years;
  • Follow-up survey at year 5 of the project of educators and public health nurses trained in the first two years of the project to assess current knowledge base, attitudes and use in practice.


Awareness : Increase awareness of the significance of health disparities, their impact on the nation, and the actions necessary to improve health outcomes for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations.

Leadership : Strengthen and broaden leadership for addressing health disparities at all levels.

Health System and Life Experience : Improve health and healthcare outcomes for racial, ethnic, and underserved populations.

Cultural and Linguistic Competency : Improve cultural and linguistic competency and the diversity of the health-related workforce.


None identified by the grantee

1/11/2016 4:44:00 PM