The proposed project aims to characterize WIC participants in the Greater New Orleans area, including the Parishes of Orleans, Jefferson, St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Lafourche, and Terrebonne, all of which experienced adverse environmental consequences following the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. These areas include a broad spectrum of economically disadvantaged and minority populations with historic health disparities. The overarching goal of the proposed project is to strengthen community resilience of vulnerable pregnant women and non-pregnant women of reproductive age by integrating community health workers as disaster interventionists and simple cellular and telephone technology as a viable and sustainable component of the health system, especially WIC Clinics. This CBPR project is explicitly designed to address community resiliency and assess the effectiveness of integrating the use of cell-phones into a WIC Community Health Education Program to improve pregnancy and post-partum outcomes among an under-served population through the following specific aims, 1) Develop a community-driven disaster mobile health platform to improve community resilience targeting selected Women Infants and Children (WIC) programs serving pregnant women and those of reproductive age 2) Train WIC-affiliated community health workers to serve as disaster interventionists with special curricular emphasis on maternal and child health, environmental health, risk communication, disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, cultural competence , and mobile health technology 3) Determine the impact of a community asset-driven health system integrating community health workers as disaster interventionists and tailored Information Technology (IT) to achieve sustained community resiliency 4) Examine the effect of the interactive capabilities of the disaster mobile health platform on just-in-case and just-in-time risk communication and community risk perception

Public Health Relevance

Pregnant WIC participants in Louisiana living in parishes affected by the Gulf of Mexico Oil spill and previously by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Gustav have increased stressors, are at continuous risk of natural and manmade disasters and have elevated concerns regarding adverse environmental and reproductive health outcomes. The goal of this project is to utilize cellular technology and CHWs as the focal frontline healthcare providers to improve prenatal and postpartum healthcare.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
Research Program--Cooperative Agreements (U19)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZES1)
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Tulane University
New Orleans
United States
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