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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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Our Mission

Our mission is to promote policies and support programs that strengthen government primary health care and foster social, economic, and health equity for all. Our vision is a just world that promotes health and well-being, including universal access to quality health care.

Our History

Health Alliance International began in 1987 as a US-based international solidarity organization committed to supporting the public sector provision of health care for all.  Over 35 years, HAI conducted programs in 17 countries, with flagship programs in Mozambique, Côte d'Ivoire, and Timor-Leste.

Our Evolution

In line with HAI’s commitment to support and strengthen local public health leadership, as of October 2021, HAI fully transitioned global operations and active programs to locally-based, locally-led NGOs. Learn more about this shift toward local autonomy and equity in global health.

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