HAI announces new project with Somali Health Board

Mar 21, 2018

HAI is excited to announce a new project with our long-standing community partner, the Somali Health Board. Led by primary investigator and HAI’s Executive Director, James Pfeiffer, the Mama Ammaan (Safe Mother) Project: African Mother-to-Mother Antenatal Assistance Network (AMMAAN) will be a collaboration between the Somali Health Board and UW’s Global Health, Anthropology, Social Work, Psychiatry and Behavior Sciences, and Pediatrics Departments.

Southeast Seattle reports the highest rates of preterm/low birthweight babies, cesarean births, women receiving inadequate perinatal care and unmet mental health needs in Washington. These communities are located in a federally designated Medically Underserved Area, indicating primary care service shortages. Factors proposed to explain perinatal disparities include: gaps in resettlement services for immigrants/refugees; lack of patient navigation support to access existing information, resources, institutions; social isolation; discrimination; linguistic/racial barriers to support seeking; social-cultural distrust of dominant authorities, institutions and care-givers; scarcity of linguistically and culturally-appropriate care-providers, services and facility locations.

Adequate perinatal care begins early in pregnancy and includes minimally 4 prenatal visits through services that are culturally accepted, seamless, and attend to biological and psychosocial well-being. The Group Prenatal Care (GPC) model promotes cultural congruence and social support. Efficacy derives from additional education time, skill-building, patient navigation support, and opportunities to learn from the experience of peers, as well as more face-time with community-based caregivers.

The proposed pilot is a collaboration between Somali Health Board (SHB), Health Alliance International (HAI), Parent Trust (PT), and UW to test the feasibility of a community-based doulas and nurses-led culturally-adapted GPC and home-visitation service model. If feasible, researchers will use findings to seek larger controlled trial funding to test a culturally-adapted GPC and doula model to improve perinatal outcomes in Southeast Seattle. Using a multidirectional learning approach, we seek to cross-fertilize by capacity-building for future implementation in other underserved, perinatally-vulnerable communities (including AIAN and African American), and strengthening community researcher capacity to meet community needs.

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