Background: The United States has the worst maternal health outcomes among developed nations. Nearly 700 women experience a pregnancy-related death annually. African-American (AA) women are disproportionately affected, experiencing deaths at a rate three to four times higher than White Women. There is also a lack of participation among AA women in the South because of mistrust associated with historical atrocities, which leads to gaps in the literature especially among pregnant women.
Proposed Solution to the Problem: In the AA community, the church and faith-based institutions are where trust is often found. This project proposes a solution to the lack of engagement of African Americans in research studies by partnering with faith-based institutions. Health promotion activities in faith-based institutions, especially in AA churches in the South, are often effective. This project also proposes including family members who can function as support persons because they too can provide lived experiences from a different perspective to aid in developing a solution to improving maternal health outcomes in AA women in the South.
Objectives: The specific aims of the project are to: 1) build a consortium of AA women, family members, faith-based leaders, and clinicians in the South; 2) train AA women and other stakeholders to effectively engage in future patient-centered outcomes research/comparative clinical effectiveness research (PCOR/CER); and 3) create a prioritized PCOR/CER agenda meaningful to AA women and their families to improve maternal health outcomes in the South.
Activities: AA women, family members, faith-based leaders, and clinicians will engage in each phase of the project as the consortium is built. Engagement will then occur among consortium members in orientation and training sessions and conclude after a PCOR/CER agenda specific to maternal health priorities meaningful to AA women is generated.
Projected Outcomes and Outputs:
The short-term outcomes during the project period are to establish: (1) a trained consortium of AA women, family members, faith-based leaders, and clinicians/researchers, and (2) a research agenda containing PCOR/CER questions/priorities on maternal health in AA women living in the South.
The medium-term outcomes (0-2 years post-project period) include securing and conducting PCOR/CER pilot studies based on identified research questions/priorities, supported by Auburn University College of Nursing or Auburn University (AU), to develop interventions that improve maternal health outcomes in AA women living in the South.
The long-term outcome (3+ years post-project period) includes applying for PCOR/CER funding through organizations, such as the National Institutes of Health, PCORI, or the March of Dimes, to improve maternal health outcomes among AA women in the South.
Patient and Stakeholder Engagement Plan: Patients (i.e., AA women and their families) and other stakeholders (i.e., faith-based leaders and clinicians) will be engaged during each phase of the project. Engagement will be guided throughout the project using PCORI’s Six Engagement Principles and PCORI’s Equity and Inclusion Guiding Engagement Principles.
Project Collaborators: AU in Auburn, AL is leading efforts for this project. Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church in Phenix City, Alabama is the primary faith-based institution supporting this project.