The goal of the Preterm Delivery Synthesis Project was to improve the utilization of the research funded by CDC that addressed the social, environmental, and contextual determinants associated with preterm delivery in an effort to develop medical, health and social policy. Healthy African American Families was selected by CDC to be the community partner for this project. In addition, HAAF has maintained excellent relationships with pregnant women from the community and community leaders, and has demonstrated strong organizational leadership in South Los Angeles, a complex and important media market.
Preterm Working Group
In the U.S., African American women consistently have twice the risk of having an undesirable pregnancy outcome, such as preterm birth or low birth weight, compared to other Americna women. Clinical medical interventions have not reduced these risks. This lack of progress in improving outcomes among African American women leads to the need for new, innovative applied public health prevention and health promotion, particularly at local levels. Since 1992, Healthy African American Families, in partnership with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have used an applied prevention framework within a community participatory process to improve understanding of African American women's health during pregnancy. As a direct result of this understanding, our goal has then been to develop culturally and community appropriate health promotion and risk reduction activities and products within the participating community. Community participation is central and critical to this process. There are 3 criteria:
1) The community is involved in the design, conduct, analysis, and evaluation of research and other developmental activities;
2)Research findings and products are used within the community that created them;
3)The participating community is continually informed about the research and health promotion activities and products.
Healthy African American Families (HAAF II) using these community participatory methods, completed research on the women's health during pregnancy and subsequently developed a multilevel risk communications strategy to reduce risks identified in the research. Several culturally appropriate health promotion products have been developed based on identified community needs and assets. As part of its community participatory process, HAAF II also developed a unique community working meeting format which serves multiple purposes:
1)Exchange of information between the local non-scientific community, health care and service providers, academia, scientists, and governmental officials;
2)Networking among community organizations;
3) Evaluation of community activities;
4)Formation of community-wide multidisciplinary, multisectorial work groups to complete acitivities and products identified as necessary during these meetings.
This is an iterative process; thus the working groups continue to meet each month, putting their workplans into action, reporting back to the community and receiving their input at working meetings. Each cycle produces new knowledge for community members, researchers, academics, and all other involved parties; "the win-win"