Developing Maternal and Child Health Life Course Performance Metrics

Dates: 2015

State: Rhode Island

Client(s): Rhode Island Department of Health

Service: Applied Research & Evaluation

Technical Expertise: Population Health, State and Local Public Health, Health Disparities

JSI is working in partnership with the state of Rhode Island to identify performance measures or metrics to better understand Maternal and Child Health (MCH) from a life course perspective. The Life Course Perspective has evolved from multidisciplinary research to provide evidence that conditions present early in life play a role in shaping the health and well-being throughout an individual’s life. This perspective provides an important lens for public health practitioners attempting to optimize health trajectories and address health inequalities for MCH populations. The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) asked JSI to facilitate the development of a suite of MCH life course performance metrics.

Specifically, the project engages approximately a dozen programmatic leads or managers at the RIDOH that work with various MCH populations to identify the most appropriate measures to inform MCH programs from a life course perspective. Additionally experts from across RI contribute to the process and help to identify additional metrics that may impact health from programs, activities, and strategic partnerships outside of RIDOH. Additional partners on this project include: the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE), Executive Office of Health & Human Services (EOHHS), university research partners, and other organizations working in MCH.

This is a new way to look at maternal and child health nationally. The life course approach recognizes that our lives are linked and that there are critical time periods for States to intervene. States, along with community-based partners, need to address these critical periods through better linkage of programmatic efforts and use of data. Part of this includes monitoring their progress through a suite of performance and out comes measures identified from this project that help us better understand MCH from a life course perspective. So in the future everyone can live their full health potential across our life span.

This end goal of achieving health equity or providing Rhode Islanders the opportunity to attain their health potential requires in-depth study and understanding of existing health disparities and the impact of such disparities across the life course. This project places Rhode Island as one of first states nationally to address MCH disparities through the development of life course metrics.


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