Once an organization decides to build a MCH Life Course Organization they must equally decide on which specific downstream and upstream activities they will execute to transform the social conditions that impact on the birth outcomes of pregnant and parenting women. Upstream activities generally address the social determinates of poor birth outcomes. There must be close coordination between downstream individual and group interventions with upstream community, coalition and policy initiatives.
1. Organize Maternal Depression Group. (Baby Mama’s Group)
2. Select a concentrated housing development where women of childbearing age live and concentrate all social and health services in this sector.
3. Organize Financial Literacy/Investment/Savings Clubs.
4. Develop job training center like Harlem Works Job Readiness Center that has transitioned over 1500 women from welfare to work.
5. Develop Consumer Involvement Organization where clients of your case management programs will develop their own organizational voice in MCH affairs and begin to tell their own stories of despair and hope. (Collard Greens for the Ghetto Soul)
6. Work with the community to organize against the food industry to advocate for more affordable fresh fruits and vegetables in your local town similar to the work NMPP has completed within our Harlem Food and Fitness Consortium.
7. Organize a campaign to bring attention to overflow of bus depots in your town where engine fuel contaminates the air and research has show that more low birth weight babies are produced as a result of pregnant moms interacting with the fumes.
8. Develop a political marketing campaign to persuade your local mayor and city council to allocate local tax-levy dollars to support community-based agencies who work to reduce infant mortality. NMPP led such a campaign starting in 2001 which has secured to date over seventy millions dollars to combat infant mortality throughout New York City.
9. Work with local government entities to develop an affordable housing campaign to make sure women of childbearing age move into affordable, decent housing to raise a healthy family. Here in NYC we have worked with our Mayor to build over eighty-two thousand units of affordable housing throughout the city.
10. Develop a working committee to scan the external environment to research and then select a variety of program development funding opportunities to expand the service offerings of the MCH Life Course Organization. For example, President Obama has placed billions of dollars in the Stimulus Package to expand evidence-based home visiting programs as well as Early Head Start and Head Start programs. These program types are the foundation for building a MCH Life Course Organization.
11. Work with your state health department to regionalize perinatal care so that sick babies and mothers will be sent to the right hospital for treatment. Also, maternity hospitals will only receive Medicaid reimbursements for achieving results!
12. Work with other local healthcare coalitions, regional and national entities to make sure health reform pays off for women of childbearing age. Attend CityMatch, AMCHP and National Healthy Start meetings where MCH activists across the nation meet and plot strategies to ensure the health and wellbeing of women and children.
13. President Obama has placed ten million dollars in his budget to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone in twenty-five cities around the nation. Racine could apply for these funds ($250,000 per project) that could help them institutionalize the coalition, hire staff and set up the organizational infrastructure that will be needed as more programs are added.
14. When one examines all of the above tactics together, you have an overall strategy to take on poverty in your neighborhood as well as an organizational development strategy to build a MCH Life Course Organization.
Anticipate, Analyze, Execute, Results
LEAD FOR THE FRONT!
Get to Work!