Donation Supports Continuation of Program to Reduce Disparities in Pre-term Births and the Maternal Health Crisis
ATLANTA (December 15, 2022) – CareSource, a nationally recognized nonprofit health plan, has donated $50,000 to H.E.A.R.T for Georgia to educate and train caregivers, health advocates and families of women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant with the goal of addressing chronic health and environmental issues that lead to poor perinatal outcomes.
H.E.A.R.T. for Georgia originally launched earlier this year as H.E.A.R.T of Clayton when CareSource teamed up with local health and wellness organizations to pioneer a new approach to maternal and child health care in Clayton County. These organizations included Clayton County Health District’s Healthier Generations Project’s Community Action Network, The Center for Family and Community Wellness, Clayton County Library System, Rollins Center for Language and Literacy, Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies Coalition of Georgia, Clayton County Collaborative Authority, Atlanta Regional WorkSource Georgia, Georgia OB-GYN Society, Amerigroup, Center for Black Women’s Wellness and the Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative.
CareSource had previously given $45,000 to help establish H.E.A.R.T. of Clayton. As a result of the success of the pilot, H.E.A.R.T is continuing the program in multiple counties across the state. The Atlanta Healthy Start Initiative of the Center for Black Women's Wellness was instrumental in the success of the pilot and will continue to serve in a leadership capacity as H.E.A.R.T. moves forward statewide
“We have seen mortality rates rise exponentially over the years, to levels that are completely unacceptable in a compassionate society,” said Danette McLaurin Glass of First Team America, LLC – the agency providing project management and implementation of H.E.A.R.T. for Georgia – knows how vital this effort is to communities of color in the region. “I am thrilled with the way the community came together to launch H.E.A.R.T to achieve better outcomes through health literacy. This initiative is a game-changer for women and babies in communities of color.”
H.E.A.R.T. for Georgia trains families, community members and agency staff on how to improve health care outcomes for families. The program is based on an innovative community health care worker training model designed to train family health care advocates in the community. The eight-week course includes 15 training modules that provide comprehensive wellness information that equips families to know their rights in health care and to understand the patient-provider partnership to ensure optimal care. Most importantly, it teaches participants how to advocate for themselves or a family member during pregnancy or post-partum.
“CareSource is passionate about improving maternal and infant health in Georgia,” said Jason Bearden, CareSource Georgia president. “H.E.A.R.T. supports this mission by creating a community of health advocates to surround our families and provide support, advocacy and knowledge to increase health outcomes for babies and mothers.”
The UGA Fanning Institute for Leadership Development determined that, the H.E.A.R.T. for Georgia pilot program was effective and promising. The program surpassed the goal of having at least 80% of project participants increase their knowledge of H.E.A.R.T.’s core principles for infant and maternal mortality prevention, with 84% of the participants scoring above 75% (compared to only 45% participants in the pre-test). 95% of the participants strongly agreed that they would participate in future sessions offered by H.E.A.R.T. for Georgia.
Additionally, 100% of H.E.A.R.T. program graduates demonstrated the ability to educate and support family members, neighbors and colleagues utilizing the core concepts and content taught throughout the course.
Data from the evaluation also showed several important concepts that were learned, and participants articulated specific behaviors or skills that have been put into practice because of this program, including:
- using specific advocacy practices,
- incorporating stress management into their daily lives,
- referring clients to other organizations/resources, and
- increasing collaboration with other individuals and organizations.