Young families connect: engaging communities

In July 2014, the March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign team conducted a marathon training for providers who serve young, expecting and new parents in five high-need counties: Bladen, Robeson, Onslow, Nash and Rockingham.  

These “train-the-trainer” sessions utilized the Ready, Set, Plan (RSP) curriculum, which introduces action goals and other strategies to help families make informed health decisions. The RSP provider trainings utilize an extensive five hour curriculum that includes fun and interactive games and role playing scenarios. Additionally, these training sessions are supplemented with age and literacy appropriate resources including flash cards, booklets, and handouts on topics like family planning, coping with stress and healthy weight maintenance. The RSP curriculum was updated and focus tested this year by March of Dimes to reflect new perspectives gleaned from young adults ages 13-24.

Preconception health promotes wellness among women and men of reproductive age, by screening for disease and reducing risks for poor health so that future children can thrive. Issues that are typically addressed before and between pregnancies include but are not limited to, smoking, nutrition, folic acid deficiency, negative stress and being overweight. In addition to promoting healthy behaviors as parents become more self-sufficient, the Young Families Connect program emphasizes the importance of  community support services. Ready, Set, Plan is an excellent example of the types of planning and preparation that providers need in order to equip young adults with the tools to make better health decisions during this critical phase of their reproductive lives.

The March of Dimes North Carolina Preconception Health Campaign uses innovative initiatives to educate women about the benefits of folic acid, healthy weight, and preconception health. The goals of the Campaign are to reduce infant mortality, birth defects, premature birth, and chronic health conditions in women, while simultaneously aiming to increase intended pregnancies. Our objectives are to improve women’s wellness, improve reproductive outcomes and reduce health disparities. The Campaign received funding from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Public Health, Women’s Health Branch to carry out training for the Young Families Connect staff.

For more information, please contact Kweli Rashied-Henry, State Campaign Coordinator at (919) 424-2158 or email krashied-henry@marchofdimes.org.

 

 

Revised: September 15, 2014

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