The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has chosen an adolescent pregnancy-intervention program designed by the UCLA School of Nursing as a model program for funding under the health care reform law.
The Public Health Nursing Early Intervention Program (PHN-EIP) for Adolescent Mothers, which was designed to improve pregnancy outcomes among young Latina and African American adolescents, is one of only two nurse models approved for implementation by Health and Human Services. This means that agencies and states that implement the model program may be eligible to receive funding under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV).
"According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 400,000 teenagers gave birth in 2009," said Deborah Koniak-Griffin, a professor at the UCLA School of Nursing and director of the school's Center for Vulnerable Populations Research. "Unfortunately, the babies of these young girls are more likely to be born into poverty, have low birth weight requiring hospitalization and suffer childhood health problems than babies born to older mothers."
The UCLA-designed program was first implemented in conjunction with the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health. High-risk pregnant young women received home visits from the middle of their pregnancy through the end of their child's first year. Prenatal visits focused on the use of prenatal health care, preparation for childbirth, self-care during pregnancy, and preparation for motherhood. For the first year after the child was born, mothers received information on family planning, infant care and well-baby health care.
"The costs to the U.S. health care system are substantial – about $9 billion each year – so it is in the interest of the states to enhance the health outcomes for those teens who do become pregnant, and for their babies," Koniak-Griffin said.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services, research has found that evidence-based home-visiting programs can have both short-and long-term effects on the well-being of participating children and families. Overall, these programs can result in many positive outcomes, including improvements in child and maternal health, child development, school readiness, parenting practices and family economic self-sufficiency and reductions in child maltreatment.
States receiving federal funding through the MIECHV program are required to meet certain benchmarks over time, including improving health and development, school readiness and economic sufficiency and reducing child abuse, neglect and injuries, juvenile delinquency, and health and educational disparities. For more information about eligibility, guidance and application submissions for the MIECHV, visit www.grants.gov.
In addition to Koniak-Griffin, the investigative team from the UCLA School of Nursing included Nancy L.R. Anderson, Ph.D., professor (now emeritus); Inese Verzemnieks, R.N., Ph.D., project director for the Center for Vulnerable Populations Research; and Mary-Lynn Brecht, Ph.D., adjunct professor.
The original research was funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research (NINR).
The UCLA School of Nursing is redefining nursing through the pursuit of uncompromised excellence in research, education, practice, policy and patient advocacy. Rated among the nation's top nursing schools by U.S. News & World Report, the school also is ranked No. 7 in nursing research funded by the National Institutes of Health and No. 1 in NIH stimulus funding. In 2009-10, the school received $18 million in total research grant funding and was awarded 26 faculty research grants. The school offers programs for undergraduate (B.S.), postgraduate (M.S.N. and M.E.C.N.) and doctoral (Ph.D.) students.