What is the Story Behind the Curve?
We began our meeting discussing risk factors related to preterm births. The ones that rose to the surface were:
-undocumented citizens and access to health care
-systemic racism and access to resources.
The group led with data, as the conversation and poll on Zoom revealed that anecdotal data points to substance abuse as a feasible place to begin exploration for preterm births. The group agreed that there needed to be more data analysis for substance-exposed infants before committing to building a strategy for this risk factor. Some questions were: Is this the cause of a substantial amount of preterm births? What other data points do we need to know more about? Are Hampton numbers higher because of the number of births at hospitals there? (Stacey clarified that the data points to the home address of the mother.) It was also noted that anytime there are self-reporting measures, there is the risk of getting incorrect information due to the distrust of systems.
Overall, the group realized that Preterm Births is a complex, multifaceted indicator that requires more data to attack at the root. Taking the time to address low hanging fruit and evaluate some other potential factors is a more attainable approach.
Factors pushing up the trendline?
- Prenatal care starts too late
- Substance abuse/substance-exposed infants
- Social determinates of health (Income, housing, transportation, etc.)
Factors pushing down the trendline?
- Quality prenatal care (starting early in pregnancy)
- Can advocate for themselves
- Dual partnerships
- White women - Implicit bias in the health care system
- Access to needed services
Factors causing disparities.
- Racism in the health care system
- culture/language gaps
Anticipated (future/emerging) factors?
- Healthcare changes
Factors requiring additional research?
- Research of health care providers in the communities (Race/Ethnicity/Gender)
- Who else works with teens/non-English speakers (teen pregnancy still an issue in black and brown communities)
- How do we work with partners who currently work with youth leaders to further impact this work?
- Are there any prevention programs for teens? schools, churches (abstinence programs)
- infant mortality (teens: 4 out of 73)
What are the top priority factors to address?
-cultural competency and understanding
-access to emerging technology (cell phones, telehealth)
-what services can be provided to teens of color to decrease teen pregnancy (prevention. female and male)
-data collection: how many substance-exposed children were preterm or low birth weight? disaggregated data on local teen pregnancy