auger communications, inc.
NIH Study

Small Business Innovation Research Grant
Small Business Innovation Research   

The National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I and Phase II grant to Auger Communications, Inc. working in collaboration with the University of North Carolina's Center for Maternal & Infant HealthA diverse and experienced community advisory board of health professionals and promotoras has helped guide the study team through both phases of research.
SBIR Phase I Study
Through this pilot study, we wanted to: 
  1. Gain a better understanding of health professionals’ perceptions of the use of lay educators and group education approaches for prenatal education
  2. Develop a better understanding of system issues that facilitate or hinder implementing these service delivery strategies in healthcare systems that serve low-income and uninsured Latinas

The study team achieved these aims through a series of key informant interviews with health care administrators (n=16) and a pilot electronic survey of health care professionals (n=104).

Phase I Study Results
For an overview of the survey findings, click on article:  
Improving Prenatal Care for Hispanic Mothers: Health Professional Perspectives
Published in Streamline the Migrant Clinicians Network Newsletter (July/August 2009)

Additional Funding Support

We'd like to thank the 
Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding University for their support of this research. Susan Auger was awarded a doctoral student scholarship in January, 2009.

Click on links for more information:

Purpose of Study
Community Advisory Board
SBIR- What is it?

SBIR Phase II Study
Through this study, we wanted to:
  1. Develop and field-test a bilingual Teach-With-Stories (TWS) prenatal lay educator outreach training and evaluation program package.
  2. Determine the effectiveness of the participatory TWS prenatal education program for Latinas led by trained lay health educators (LHE) as compared to the outcomes of a control match group receiving usual care on birth outcomes and utilization, such as prenatal, post-partum, well-baby, and emergency visits.
The study team used a community-based participatory development process and the Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle methodology to develop and refine the TWS prenatal care photonovels and training materials.

Phase II Study Results
The study team as successfully completed (2) 8-week TWS groups at two sites: Piedmont Health Services in Carrboro, NC and Wake County Health Department  in Raleigh, NC.

The results from the pilot study on the effectiveness of the TWS groups will be presented in a poster session at the 2012 NIH National Summit on Reducing Health Disparities.

Phase I Pilot Study Details 
Teach-With-Stories: Lay Educator Prenatal Outreach Program for Hispanics
(Grant No. 1R43MD002713-01)

Currently at 11 million, the number of Hispanic women in their childbearing years is projected to increase exponentially over the next several decades. The central role women have in Hispanic culture with respect to the health of their families, along with their high fertility rates, make reaching and engaging Hispanic women a critical strategy in efforts to reduce disparities and improve health outcomes for adults and children in these communities.

Quality prenatal care is designed to promote health and reduce risks for women, infants, and families before, during, and after pregnancy. This care is often the first introduction Hispanic families have to the American medical system and is also a place where disparities in care begin. Developing the healthcare system's capacity to provide quality, linguistically and culturally appropriate prenatal education and care is critical.

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This exploratory study will determine the feasibility of developing a culture-centered prenatal education program for Hispanic women facilitated by lay health educators.

The program is based on the Teach-With-Stories (TWS) Method™ developed for empowerment-based group education used in conjunction with the De Madre a Madre/From Mother to Mother photonovels. These are a series of easy-to-read, bilingual, culturally appropriate photo-stories designed for prenatal education and literacy instruction.

Understanding the concerns, needs, beliefs, and perceptions of administrators and health professionals working in prenatal care programs is essential for designing a lay health educator prenatal education program that will be adopted into practice. The TWS study was designed to also help determine possible strategies to make the TWS prenatal education groups cost-effective and efficient to implement.

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Positive, culturally sensitive experiences in prenatal care can have a long-term impact on the use of healthcare services by Hispanic women and their families. An empowerment-based lay educator model designed to address system and provider needs unique to prenatal care could help generate cost-savings to the health care system, improve quality of care, and address the multiple needs of this growing population.

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 Small Business Innovations Research (SBIR)- What is it?
National Institutes of Health (NIH) sets aside funds for SBIR grants to stimulate and support small business research and development in partnership with research institutions.
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