Brief summary: Marshall University researchers discuss a 3 year, multi-site, mixed-methods RCT program evaluation of the Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker program in southern WV- an in-home intervention intended to improve child development outcomes for families facing significant challenges. Full Abstract: The Maternal Infant Health Outreach Worker (MIHOW) program intends to improve child development outcomes in families facing significant economic and social challenges; it currently provides services in 4 states within the Appalachian region. MIHOW utilizes trained community members to serve as in- home, parent-to-parent educators. Having documented positive outcomes for participant families, the WV Office of Maternal and Child Health has supported MIHOW as a “birth-to-three” program within the state. However, funders now require carefully designed evaluation studies to secure ongoing support; thus, the project described here - the first randomized control group trial (RCT) evaluation of MIHOW - was initiated. We are conducting a 3 year, multi-site, mixed-methods RCT in southern WV. Pregnant women who volunteered as research participants were randomly assigned to the MIHOW program or to a minimal intervention group receiving only written educational materials. MIHOW staff identified outcome variables that the program intends to influence (e.g. smoking, birth weight, maternal well being, parenting behaviors, community connections); the quantitative research team identified measures for each that are used for outcome comparisons between the 2 groups. Concurrently, the qualitative team purposefully selected a subsample of MIHOW participants (mothers and home visitors) for study; they are conducting multiple interviews over time with participants, and analyzing the interviews to identify themes that represent key aspects of the participants’ perceptions of, and lived experiences with, the program. In this presentation, we will more fully describe a) the MIHOW program as implemented within 2 counties in Southern WV, b) our research methods and c) results that have emerged so far from this ongoing evaluation project.
Marty Amerikaner is the Principal Investigator, and along with Chris LeGrow and Steve O’Keefe form the quantitative research team for the MIHOW evaluation project; all three are Professors in the Psychology Department at Marshall University
Linda Spatig is the senior researcher heading the qualitative team including four education doctoral students--Debra Lockwood, Amy Carlson, Kathy Bialk and Kelli Kerbawy-- for the MIHOW evaluation project. Linda is a Professor in Educational Foundations and Debra is an Assistant Professor in Special Education ; Amy is a speech and language pathologist, Kathy is the Director of Student Financial Aid, and Kelli works with international students at INTO Marshall
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/stephen_okeefe/4/