Meeting families where they’re at

Price Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cincinnati, has been said to have one of the most impressive views of the city. The area exudes history, charm and diversity.  But residents of Price Hill– 42 percent of who are non-white with a sizeable undocumented community– are disproportionately affected by high rates preterm birth, infant mortality and medical and psychiatric hospitalization, Larissa Loufman, MPH, RD, LD, CLC reports. [Interact for Health. (2015). Price Hill: The Health of Our Community. Cincinnati, OH.]

Fifty two percent of households are below the poverty line, there’s an eight to 15 percent unemployment rate and 10 to 25 percent of adult residents are illiterate. [U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey. (2010). American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. Generated by City of Cincinnati using American FactFinder. Retrieved March 2012, from]

Loufman, Research Coordinator for the Department of Critical Care Medicine at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, says families are overwhelmed.

“When basic needs are not met, like housing and access to food, there is little else individuals can focus on,” she explains.

Cincinnati has put money into the community in an attempt to uplift it, but many families aren’t always aware of the resources available and it can be challenging to access them.

For example, a newly pregnant mother may not know that it’s important to start prenatal care early on. She may not know where to go to receive care. She might not have reliable phone service to schedule appointments or have reliable transportation to get to appointments. Maybe she can’t access care because she’s not able to leave work during the hours the health center offers or she doesn’t have childcare for her other children, Loufman goes on.

Loufman will present Home Visiting Services Increases Breastfeeding Initiation Among At-Risk Women at the 2019 International Breastfeeding Conference in Deerfield Beach, Fla. where her focus will be to provide community-based professionals with strategies to promote and support breastfeeding effectively in underserved communities.

Essentially, she says, health care providers need to work with families to tackle issues that are most important to the family.

“If we [the healthcare provider] decide what takes priority, we cannot build trust and help them in the way they need to be supported,” she expounds.

Co-production is also key in order to make a difference in a community.

Co-production differs from participation in that co-production means players are equal partners and co-creators as opposed to consultation on a project. The Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has more on this here.

“The community has to be involved in deciding what the problem is and possible solutions to take ownership of the work and increase sustainability of the project,” Loufman begins.

“If an agency comes in and decides to help a community to overcome a problem they identify, it’s possible it won’t continue after they leave because there was no community buy-in.”

Currently, Loufman and colleagues are in the early stages of launching a project focused on mapping social network connections between community members and how those connections impact health and wellbeing.

Loufman has been working in this capacity for the past two years planning and conducting local, national and international research projects. Find out more about her work here.

Connect with Loufman at the International Breastfeeding Conference by registering here.

“I am very excited for the opportunity to attend and present at the conference,” says Loufman. “My dream has always been to have a positive impact on international health issues.”  

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.