Grassroots Maternal Child Health Leadership Curriculum
Keywords:social determinants of health, infant mortality, community development, policy advocacy, women’s empowerment
In the United States, Indiana ranks 43rdfor its infant mortality rate. Twenty-nine (of the 988) Indiana zip codes account for 27% of infant deaths. There is a need to train and mentor community members to lead local maternal and child health (MCH) efforts that address the priorities of community members as related to poor birth outcomes and facilitate the community’s solution strategies to this important public health problem. This community-centered approach coupled with local healthcare delivery helps thoroughly address local adverse birth outcomes. A comprehensive grassroots MCH leadership curriculum is needed for this training process. To meet this need we developed and solicited feedback on a curriculum designed to train community members situated in Indiana’s high-risk zip codes to be grassroots maternal child health leader (GMCHLs). The curriculum teaches GMCHLs the knowledge and skills to become self-reflective leaders who understand the causes and effects of adverse and inequitable birth outcomes, the negative health effects of chronic stress, and the protective power of the community. These GMCHLs will become skilled in the use of storytelling, Photovoice, policy development/advocacy and EvaluLead to build the capacity of their local community to support positive maternal and child health (MCH) outcomes.