UMKC Institute for Human Development (IHD) hosted an all-day event with Mother & Child Health Coalition (MCHC) for a Healthy Start sister site visit on Wednesday, May 29, 2019. The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) was recently awarded their first Healthy Start grant, and five project members traveled to Kansas City to learn from the experienced Kansas City Healthy Start Initiative (KCHSI) for some thoughtful lessons learned. The Arkansas Healthy Start program is based in the Northwestern rural area of Arkansas where the largest group of Marshallese outside of the Marshall Islands and Hawaii reside. Much like KCHSI, the Arkansas Healthy Start focuses on serving pregnant women to achieve better perinatal health care.

The morning agenda included presentations by the KCHSI staff including Program Manager‒Dr. Jean Craig, Education and Health Promotions Coordinator‒ Shannon Williams, Outreach Worker ‒Christina Sanchez, and Lead Community Health Workers (LCHW) from Swope Health – Ahkeya Howard, Ashley Hayden-Peaches of Samuel Rodgers Health Center and Marcela Metcalf, LCHW at MCHC. The KCHSI staff shared successes and challenges in serving families and provided practical advice and suggestions in engaging families.

After lunch, Danielle Chiang and Katharine Ragon of UMKC IHD’s Early Childhood team shared the REDCap data collection procedures, data management and quality control practices, and the Life Skills Progression curriculum. A robust Q&A session followed and discussion was mainly on the balance between providing quality services and maintaining research capacity. The “Meet-Up” was beneficial to both KCHSI and Arkansas Healthy Start as it encouraged both sites to continue their good work serving women and infants with high needs.

The teams agreed that future meet-ups would be beneficial for discussing strategies and general moral support of each other as sister sites.

For more information, contact Danielle Chiang at chiangd@umkc.edu or Katharine Ragon at ragonk@umkc.edu

You may also contact Jean Craig at jcraig@mchc.net

From Left: Dr. Jean Craig, KCHSI; Katharine Ragon and Dr. Danielle Chiang, IHD.

From Left: Katharine Ragon, IHD; Dr. Jean Craig, KCHSI; Dr. Pearl McElfish (in turquoise) and staff of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Healthy Start program.