Prenatal Task Force
The Jackson County Prenatal Task Force empowers underserved women and teens with educational information and resource advocacy to improve their and the community’s health and wellbeing.
The Prenatal Task Force (PNTF) develops prevention, education and health care access programs, based on FIMR findings and recommendations, to reduce infant mortality in Jackson County.
An action plan was implemented by PNTF staff and advisory committee members in partnership with local healthcare providers, social service workers, community educators and others. This collaboration is unique in that it provides a multi-disciplinary approach for exploring and discussing solutions to the county’s high infant mortality rates, while channeling specific project activities through the Prenatal Task Force to avoid duplication of services.
We design, develop and distribute a variety of programs and resource materials, track and evaluate outcomes and seek new funding sources. These activities strengthen both the PNTF and the Jackson community's capacity to deliver excellent infant mortality education and prevention services, which over time can significantly impact women's knowledge and behaviors relating to pregnancy, maternal health and prenatal care.
Goals of the PNTF
- Prevent preterm labor and delivery
- Prevent tobacco, alcohol and other drug use before and during pregnancy
- Decrease unintended pregnancies
- Screen and refer for substance use, domestic violence and mental health
- Raise awareness of safe infant sleep
- Improve collection and use of vital statistics on infant mortality
Some of the project activities include:
House to House
House to House is a community-based peer health education program with a goal of educating and empowering women and teens. Women from the community are trained as educators and resource advocates to run targeted gatherings where health information is shared within their social settings. Peer health education models have a rich history in community-based health education, and this program uses such a peer education model to educate women in our community on factors influencing infant mortality.
Preventing Preterm Labor: Stickers and Magnets
The Prenatal Task Force has designed informational stickers describing the warning signs of preterm labor to be dispensed by local pharmacies with all prenatal vitamin prescriptions. In addition, a magnet with information about preterm labor (including contributing causes, warning signs and what to do in case of preterm labor) will be distributed during prenatal visits at Allegiance Health.
Prenatal Resource Packets and Fact Sheets
We have developed and distributed 800 prenatal resource packets to the local human services departments to give to pregnant clients. Packets include information on community pregnancy resources and services such as Born Free’s substance use and dependency programs, a list of local obstetricians, a How to Be Healthy During Pregnancy brochure, information on local smoking cessation programs, services at the Center for Family Health, and more. Our Pregnancy Fact Sheets, one for each trimester, describe common experiences and tips for a healthy pregnancy. They are available in local obstetric providers’ offices.
Tobacco, alcohol, and other drug use; domestic violence; and mental health issues
The Prenatal Task Force developed prenatal screening tools and referral trees for area obstetrical providers in order to improve prenatal assessment and referral for alcohol, drug and tobacco use, domestic violence, and mental health issues. In addition, we offer a free smoking cessation program to pregnant women, delivered by a certified smoking cessation counselor.
Promoting Safe Infant Sleep: Cribs and Onesies
In order to promote safe sleep practices in Jackson County, the Prenatal Task Force has purchased and distributed 100 safety-approved cribs for families without resources to purchase their own. Families receiving the cribs have also been given information on safe infant sleep practices. We have also provided Infant Safe Sleep posters and brochures from Tomorrow’s Child to health care providers and community agencies in Jackson County. In addition, women giving birth at Allegiance Health in Jackson will receive a onesie with the safe sleep message "Face Up To Wake Up" on its front.
The Prenatal Task Force distributes a survey to all new mothers who have delivered at Allegiance Health. The survey asks questions about prenatal care, women’s behaviors, experiences, and opinions about their care, and their exposure to community information distributed by the Prenatal Task Force. The women completing the survey, in turn, receive a gift bag for helping us gather this important information.
For more information about the Prenatal Task Force, including how to participate or to request materials, contact:
Amy Schultz, Chair, Jackson County Prenatal Task Force Coordinator
Allegiance Prevention & Community Health
One Jackson Square, 9th Floor
Jackson, MI 49201
This year the Prenatal Task Force has received funding from Allegiance Health, Jackson Community Foundation, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Michigan State Medical Society, and Health Plan of Michigan.