Better together: Addressing maternal and child health outcomes through community health worker continuing education curricula
Background. The incidence of birth defects is a significant public health issue in the United States, adversely affecting the quality of life for parents as well as children born with these defects. Minority populations face a greater burden of birth defects and associated health problems. Prenatal practices can have a large impact on infant health outcomes. Several behaviors during pregnancy, including the intake of folic acid, can greatly influence the likelihood of a child being born with a birth defect. Community Health Workers have been shown to be effective agents at improving prenatal practices, especially when they facilitate support groups that feature pregnant women.
Methods. A continuing education curriculum has been created for Community Health Workers that provides content in the area of Maternal and Child Health. Content was selected after conducting a review of relevant literature and theory. Materials for conducting a training for Community Health Workers have been created in addition to materials that were designed for the population with whom the CHWs work.
Results. A description of each "key point" of the curriculum and a justification how it relates to the literature of the prevention of birth defects is given here. Additionally, the process of creating the curriculum using the platform delineated in the methods is described.
Discussion. Insights for future curriculum development are discussed along with next steps in the process of certifying the curriculum at the state level. A framework for future evaluation of the curriculum is given.
0680: Health education
0727: Curriculum development